A3 – Time & Dissociation //

  • A3 – Time & Dissociation //
  • A3 – Time & Dissociation //
  • A3 – Time & Dissociation //

Based on my developing works (TIME-SCREEN I and TIME-SCREEN II as well as the spin-off idea), I decided to develop following aspects further:

  • gesture : the human presence and its dissociative (dis-)appearance 
  • frame / screen : the disruptive plane
  • projection / performance : the fragmented reality

I’ve noticed that visual elements can add strongly to a narrative created by the viewer (see peer feedback on performative moving image and on still paintings) . Also the gesture as the act of touch , but also of failure.

Some questions that I will address with my assignment:

  • How could these three elements be embedded into convincing work? 
  • How can I leverage and explore materiality to the extend to creating meaning and knowledge?
  • How could the painting support function as a carrier of meaning?
  • How could the viewer be engaged through an interactive or participatory co-creation act ?
  • How can my painting cross boundaries of abstract and figurative painting? 
  • How could the work push myself into new territories and knowing?

I found the following elements intriguing and supporting above questions:

  • material:
    – perspex, transparent layers for multiple viewpoints (screening, reflections, mirror, framing)
    light / projection: light as a painterly act for making visible (projection beam, projections of recorded observations, light transgressing translucent layers (perspex, oil or watercolor washes)
    stencil approach: playing with positive and negative shapes plus surrounding space 
    – acrylic transfer process: loss of information due to material imperfections and variations in control of process
  • gesture:
    – depiction of gesture: crossing, transgressing, interacting
    – gesture of making it: my presence, control, loss of control, failure, imperfections
  • frame:
    – enforcing and dissolving containment, being inside the frame or outside the frame, being framed by viewing experience
    – a possibly more interesting combination of painted areas and line (frame, gestural)

Layered painting

Screen gesture – ideas to push forward. Perspex plate in between two paintings, striations informed by double projection artefacts (Fig. 1 – 2 – with ideas no.1  – 4).

to open in lightbox view, click on the small arrow bottom right

=> no3: background with a higher quality in execution, more translucency, the painted hand on mylar perhaps with a more ‘fleeding’ character. How to embed surrounding light as performative ‘paint’?  I find the opaqueness, though using only translucent oil washes, as too dense, perhaps in a combination with more transparent layers more successful, being more informed with the light-induced screen performance.

Embracing coincidences

While making and laying out my ideas (Fig 1-2) I discovered a reflection of the studio light (Fig. 3), considering it as a light performance, and making a short video from my and my phone camera moving forward and backward (a bodily gesture). The image taken (Fig 3) was especially fascinating: one might get the idea as if the light reflection is hold between the two depicted hand gestures (negative and positive shape). What in itself might be just another visual element stipulating various responses.

Stefan513593 - A3 - screen gesture - scan as gesture?

Fig 3: Screen gesture – element of chance – layering and reflection – scan as gesture?; a combine: background layer, embodied reflection, negative and positive gesture

 

The up and down of the reflected light reminded me of a scanning process, like a scanner. The reflection becomes embodied, as only through by body gesture I can animate the painting and the light beam starts to scan up and down. The animation is not any longer through a time-based sequence of still images, but a still image animated by the viewer. I find this an fascinating idea and did wonder how this could be developed further. Therefore, I amended one of my initial questions above:

  • How could the viewer be engaged through performative reflection as interactive or participatory co-creation act ?

Nevertheless, I made a video as a juxtaposition of the performing reflected light on the painting and a recorded sequence from my open scanner, an interior view of the scanner: Scan as Gesture (0:05 min). 

This observation of chance made me reflect how relevant this could be for my parallel project: MRI as a process is physically more related to proton spins and impact of electro-magnetic fields, but is a also a slicing, or scanning process and it is often referred to as a MRI scan. A very fascinating discovery, reminding me also of Helen Chadwick‘s photocopier approach for her work ‘Of Mutability‘ and Oval Court, 1986. Kind of inside the machine, the scanner, not literally, more metaphorically, something to look deeper at in my parallel project.

A3-sketchbook - visual thinking 1

Image 1 of 3

Fig. 4: visual thinking 1 - sketchbook – developing ideas for execution; a multilayered approach

I do relate the application of paint in stripes to aspects of: striations (as experimented earlier in context of coding information, but also glitches), screening (the aspect of horizontal structure and patterns of image creation on screens, the way we read images and image-texts horizontally forward and return), and scanning (related to how we scan visual information, related to MRI scanner). In my sketchbook (Fig. 4) a mapping of my ideas for building the layered painting. And considering striations as one key element to explore through paint.

My plan for this assignment project is mostly informed by my previous Time & Screen paintings and especially above layered image with 6mm perspex plate (Fig. 3) and sketched down in my sketchbook (Fig.4). To work in parallel on the three (or more?) layers aka building blocks consisting of visual and color information informed by my previous works (enactment performance, video, paintings of screening and viewing) alongside the gesture as the entry portal to engage, to seek meaning, to find narratives etc:

  • Background: a more opaque painted screen, like a viewing screen, a pattern informed by my previous experiments 
  • Middle Ground: a layer in between the background and the gesture, not too opaque and not too transparent
  • Foreground: a cut out hand-gesture, painted, a moving appeal

I did work mostly with transparent materials (perspex, rhenalon, mylar) as these not only embrace a light infusing quality, also they would possibly act in a similar with performing reflective light as observed (Fig. 3), preferably in oil as oil washes are much more luminous than in acrylic.

Building blocks

Exploring ideas on materiality in trying to answer some of above questions, or better, to raise questions related those aspects (see Fig. 5 and 6) 

to open in lightbox view, click on the small arrow bottom right

What worked well: 

  • Working with acrylic paint directly onto perspex (with priming first with adhesive spray). It is a opaque and fast drying process.
  • Working with oil paint on mylar or rhenalon with striations (using a tool) creates luminous color patterns.
  • Acrylic transfer of acrylic paintings onto paper makes glossy, reflective smooth surfaces
  • Using thin striations provides quite a translucent appeal

What didn’t work: 

  • Acrylic transfer process on perspex: a disaster as apparently it needs on sheet of paper, and using two plastic sheets doesn’t allow the transfer to happen, even after two days waiting the acrylic adhesive is still wet between both layers.  I am not quite sure why, perhaps that the used acrylic adhesive need to dry and can do so only through porous structures. e.g. paper).  
  • Working with oil paint on perspex or rhenalon takes endless time (around two weeks +) till I could use if further. What makes the entire process with three layers aka building blocks a frustrating endeavour. What is one of the reasons that this assignment took so long. Working on mylar sheets is a bit faster, though the sheet is not transparent.

Conclusions so far

  • Although acrylic transfer onto perspex didn’t work as intended, I found the traces left on perspex (Fig. 8, left) intriguing, kind of artefacts created by chance and failure. Artefacts that resonate with the projection light artefacts observed earlier on.
  • Using acrylic paint as the background and backside of perspex plate
  • Using oil paint or acrylic paint for middle ground with variations of transparency. Considering Jaqueline Humphries (Ryan, 2018) exploration that thick opaque paint still can show through much of visual information from the background. Fig. 19 shows above Fig. 8 and a sketch from my sketchbook, the latter much denser
  • Using more striations and disruptive patterns between background and middle ground.
  • Embracing surprise and follow new ways when get stuck. seeking new territories
Stefan513593 - A3 - Time&Dissociation - opaque transparency

Fig 13: opaque transparency – left: oil paint on paper, right: acrylic transfer onto stenciled acrylic painting

 

Building together:

Based on my previous quick approaches to test the dialogue of two layers (Fig. 8 and 9) I felt encouraged to play with the paintings that worked (and why not also with those that didn’t work?)  and to see how it would resonate: 

First Run:  

Background: oil paint on mylar, middle ground: acrylic transfer on perspex- a failure), gesture: oil paint on paper and mylar 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Time&Dissociation - Build #1

Fig 14: A3 – Time&Dissociation – Build #1: left the building blocks, right two options of layering

With this first round it would be good to reflect on my initial questions: 

  • How could these three elements (gesture // frame – screen // projection – performance) be embedded into convincing work? 
    => through working with three layers
  • How can I leverage and explore materiality to the extend to creating meaning and knowledge?
    => by using transparent/translucent materials that could be associated with screen, masking, window, frame
  • How could the painting support function as a carrier of meaning?
    => This still need to be seen, mostly through the viewer’s engagement related to the portal of the gesture. I do think that a convincing visual result in good-high quality would be crucial. 
  • How could the viewer be engaged through performative reflection as interactive or participatory co-creation act
    => To be tested further when truly installed as one piece (the image taken in Fig. 10 was flat and at some distance as the background in oil was still wet). Though a opaque background may interfere with that?
  • How can my painting cross boundaries of abstract and figurative painting? 
    => through juxtaposition of figurative gesture and more formal abstract patterns
  • How could the work push myself into new territories and knowing?
    => To work with transparent materials is challenging. It not only opens technical challenges on how to paint or transfer paint on these surfaces, it also engages in a more complex way through the additional options of looking from the backside and/or the impact of surrounding lightening and reflections. Some might be more controlled, some others would need to stay in ambiguity waiting for the viewer’s response. I am wondering whether to keep my route of making broad stripes for the background is convincing enough, as I found that thinner stripes aka striations do convey a translucent (background shines through) as well a textured appeal (when using acrylic paint and transfer technique, see Fig 10)

In that sense, it seemed promising to continue with my explorations of variants:

Interaction with building blocks

Two examples from my selected five varieties, interacting, performing, still images of screen (aka surface) based layered painting.

to open in lightbox view, click on a thumbnail

  • Touching a Wall (acrylic and oil paint on perspex, rhenalon and mylar, 40 x 30 cm, framed: 45 x 35 cm)

=> I explored both sides of a painted perspex plate (reference to the initial wall structure seen in Serra’s video work and made into my ‘TV-Box’) with varieties of gesture above. One side of the perspex is painted with an acrylic transfer (yes, I tried it again , a pattern of striations, just traces left, as I found the scattered and randomised visual intriguing. Eventually, I selected the juxtaposed version of monochrome and color (Fig 22)

  • Breaking Through (acrylic paint on perspex and mylar, 40 x 30 cm, framed: 45 x 35 cm)

=> Here, I took my first run (Fig. 14) further by using the failure (perspex with traces from my trial with acrylic transfer), placing a painted rhenalon plate behind and a gesture painted on mylar in between. I explored different varieties and found that the black frame (reference to the black screen box) gives a strong supporting element to the work.

  • Discovery (Oil paint on rhenalon and mylar, 40 x 30 cm, between glass)

=> I started with a framed version as well. Eventually, I found without frame and just sandwiched the rhenalon and mylar layers between two glass plates as more convincing.

Final selection:

A series of 6 works (acrylic and oil paint, on perspex, rhenalon, mylar and paper (painting size approx 40 x 30 cm each, framed sizes 45 x 35 cm):

  • Breaking Through: acrylic paint on perspex and mylar (45 x 35 cm, painting 40 x 30 cm)
  • Reaching: acrylic paint on perspex and mylar (45 x 35 cm, painting 40 x 30 cm)
  • Getting Involved: acrylic and oil paint on perspex and rhenalon (40 x 30 cm)
  • Touching a Wall: acrylic and oil paint on perspex and mylar (40 x 30 cm)
  • Discovery: oil paint on rhenalon and mylar between glass (40 x 30 cm)
  • Human: oil and acrylic paint on paper, rhenalon (approx. 42 x 30 cm)

I decided to title the six works as a reflection of my response to the process of making and viewing. Also, I decided to group the six paintings according to their visual appearance and how they resonate as a group in itself. For that reason I separated Touching a Wall and Discovery from the frame and to embrace the perspex aka glass plate as the support, the work in itself – not contained in a frame.

Gallery view #1: Touching a Wall / Reaching

Image 1 of 3

Fig. 31: A3 - Time&Dissociation - Touching a Wall / Reaching

I was eager to test the luminance and possibility for background light. Luckily, I had the ‘TV.box’ from previous works ready and installed it as a lightbox with a small LED light at one of the openings. Therefore, I made additional photographs of five of my six selected works (Human (Fig. 33 had an opaque paper background)

Illumination – Appearing and Disappearing acts

With a view from the frontside, with light shining through the back. I took the photographs in a darkened room to ensure the light be more dominant. Idea for gallery installation. Some notion of backlightening, like computer or phone screens, images and pattern appearing, not touchable. And at the same time, information seems to get lost, the bright colors of the painted frontside, disappearing – like disappearing acts – performing with light.  

A3 - Time & Dissociation - Illumination #2

Image 1 of 5

Fig. 34: Illumination #2 - Breaking Through

=> I find it fascinating how the environment can be merged with what and how we perceive things. We are not completely independent, or innocent of the way we see. I felt reminded of Jaqueline Humphries ‘Black Paintings’ (she used neon paints) or of the participatory video works of Vincent Morriset. From above series, I find Getting Involved (Fig. 32 left) the least successful one. Though, it appears stronger with backlight (Fig. 36)


Learnings

  • More clarity on material issues:
    – acrylic transfer onto perspex: need much more time to dry (could be accelerated with applied heat), similar with oil paint on perspex
    – acrylic paint in perspex: either with a primer or with adhesive mixed into to keep the dry paint on the surface
    – fixing paper onto perspex: either with adhesive of with photo mount
    – painting on perspex or rhenalon: it will keep a translucent appeal, washes are more differentiated, opaque paints are not completely opaque. I embraced that aspects in taken ‘illuminated’ photographs (Fig. 34-38)
  • More clarity on composition:
    – painted frame: a painted frame feels more contained, feeling isolated, less discruptive, less successful
    – frame around the painting:  seems to be more successful, letting the relationship between shapes and color be more active
  • Be pragmatic:
    – I was looking for the right striations and didn’t want to stick to one ‘comb-tool’. Thus, I did a self-made tool, cut from plastic. Luckily, I found also in our garage a tile comb-style spatula.
  • Play:
    – Embracing the works at hand, playing to find new compositions, visually more intriguing (see Fig. 15-30)
  • Installation:
    – Finding how a picture frame can support a visual strong expression, at times the frame seems contains too much (see Fig. 27-30 and 32)

 


Reflection

From working on my assignment body I became much more aware on how I could see my explorations through moving images and painting in a complementary but also a different viewpoint on materiality as an object surrounding us:

Stefan513593-A3-table materiality

Table 1: Materiality (moving images and painting)

Eventually, I found a portal to see how to work with moving images and painting in the future, as both could be considered as a response to above mentioned topics. I would consider as the common denominator:

LIGHT and COLOR and SURFACE

What I also become aware of as a common theme crossing both ‘media’ is the aspect of crossing boundaries of

SPACE and MATERIALITY

I do feel more assured to continue working on those parallel aspect going beyond the notion of painting as an observational medium to depict projected and screened images (from a digital, discrete space). Furthermore, to consider moving images as an expansion of digital recording devices and painted surfaces. And the notion of illumination and light as source of obtaining meaning and knowledge is fascinating. 

Last not least, both ‘media’ can inform the other. Both have their own performative specificity due to material constraints aka opportunities.

 


Reference:

  • NHS (2018) Overview MRI scan, At: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mri-scan/  (Accessed  21 March 2019).
  • Ryan, D. (2018) ‘Painting as event: An interview with Jacqueline Humphries’, In: Journal of Contemporary Painting, 4 (1)pp. 45 – 58.
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