Medical imaging // layering – scanning – transparency
Informed by my work on assignment 3, a masking, layering approach, framing, using stencil technique, spray paint, and reflective surfaces.
Fig. 1 – 3: Looking through
Matting with black board. Reminding me of some kind of medical images, e.g. X-Ray images placed on a flat lightbox or glass
Fig. 4: Masking and Reveal
Layered approach with striations, lines of scanning, masking to reveal
Fig. 5: Notational Difference
Same paint, same color, still differentiation between figure and ground. A classification, a notational discrimination, a yes or no.
// Dislocated Image – Dislocating Self //
Ongoing interrogations – a chronology
// blog category ‘Parallel Project’ at: http://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?cat=126 //
// this information will be amended in a word doc – accessible at: chronology log (455 kB)
// sketchbook aka notebook pages for my parallel project – accessible at: sketchbook pdf (29 MB) (below figures are selected pages from this sketchbook)
My first visual thinking – mapping out
My interest: MRI as visual imaging technique informed by my bodily experience from a MRI scan (Bern, April 2018)
My question: Is MRI (or medical imaging technique) not a similar visual technique as satellite or drones?
Mapping the territory:
- imaging as mapping / seeing above and through / dislocation gaze and object // working with raw MRI images to translate them painterly
My second visual thinking – mapping out
My question: How does Baroque folds compare to MRI imaging technique?
- Applying the 6 traits of the Baroque to MRI and explore through painting folds and unfolds, MRI more as a metaphor than iconographic
My third visual thinking – mapping out
Areas of difference:
- Bodily / Senses / Auditory & Tactile / seeing with the body
- iconographically: Aesthetics of MRI
- indexical: medical gaze of decoding information
- metaphorical: conditions of detecting, differentiating, constructing a visible
- Baroque’ness : 6 traits of subverting dominance
My intermediate conclusion
My question/statement: Mapping as technique, MRI as mapping device
Collecting and mapping (classifying) ideas
- The Baroque sensibility
- The encapsulated brain
- The Sound image – a push vibration
- The slices abstraction
- ‘Still images’ as performative one hour lasting stillness, ref daguerreotype and the neck brace
- Performative-screen-translucent => Dissolution of boundaries
- ‘X-ray’ layers, a scanning sensibility
- Figure / Ground discipline
- Resonance Music / Sound / Visuals => moving into my collaborative project with music student Vicky Downey
This is my (parallel) development and reflection informed by my assignment work: Screen installation / Spatial gesture.
It occurred as kind of boredom-phenomena, related to the long drying and waiting times for my assignment work (TIME & DISSOCIATION) and inspired by my spin-off idea, I decided to develop it further – as one idea for my parallel project on medical imaging.
Overall, how projection could be considered as an intrinsic element of our viewing experience of screen based imagery: projection on walls as cinema screens, TV screens, computer monitor screens, or clinical viewing screens and any other framed images that defer meaning beyond its materiality. On the one hand, our body with its physical presence and on the other hand, the screen that is not what it suggests to be: a reality by framing attention.
And relating to my discourse with myself of how digital and moving images : just a format of delivery as a distant learner or more than a collection of ‚moving ‚ still images ? Painting with paint on surfaces or painting in between spaces , virtual?
I felt it would possibly make more sense in context of medical imaging – the gestures as part of human interventions in clinics, as well as the body part that stretches outward beyond the MRI machine (as in my case with having a brain MRI scan).
=> I find the sculptural aspect alongside the space to breath inspiring. The ambiguous sense of space something to elaborate further. A ‘simpler’ approach than the following ideas
When I placed that transparent work in-front of my blank computer screen , it seemed as if the gestural hands became more embedded in that ‘blank’ context (Fig. 2)
I felt inspired to develop this further,, although I also felt that not much need to be done else. Questions of black versus colored striations (screen – projection artefacts) and whether the hands be painted flat or with some sculptural appeal. Or whether the installation of flat images (background, gestures) in space would be sufficient ambiguous to engage the viewer?
What resulting in applying various spatial settings (reminding me of the ‘painting in a round’ idea from part 2) , playing with gestures and screens (perspex, two sizes (30×21 split into half and for one side only), black acrylic spray painted perspex, painted and printed gestures):
Aspects that worked well:
- Reflective feature of ‘black mirror’ (of gesture and environment)
- A rather flying appeal on transparent surface
- A narrative through the dialogue of two gestures
- A mylar layer with cut out gesture with black background (Fig. 14)
- High tonal contrast (Fig. 9 left)
What didn’t work:
- Size and composition eg. Fig. 10
- Additional complexity of white ground
- Clarity of difference between various viewpoints
- Low tonal contrast (Fig. 10 left)
- Overall, robustness and quality of execution
Steps to develop it further:
- Better quality and robustness
- Working with high tonal contrast, difference between b&w and intense but selective color
- Installing on support
Overall, I am intrigued by the bold appeal in space alongside the black screen as reflective matter. A dialogue between transparency and opaqueness, between revealing and concealing.
Narrative gesture painting
While working and developing my assignment work experimenting in my sketchbook with various paper support textures, and creating a series of stencil approaches, I became aware of how a series made from ‘hands’ as gesture does strongly inform a narrative. Especially, as my work-in-progress was a time-based process evolving through pages and pages, turning pages , waiting for one page to dry, continuing etc.
My thought: What if this would be indeed a book format? An artist book, a narrative of exploring surfaces with gesture? Or as the depicted de-contextualised gesture, a reflection of my gestural making, and a mirror-image of the viewer turning pages? What reminded my of Helen Chadwick and her thinking related to her work ‘Oval Court’ as a mirror-image of the viewer (Chadwick, 2011)
Consequently, I placed the pre-marked papers in a row to paint across with striations of color (oil paint) in reference to my screening experience of projected artefacts. Last not least, this sequence reflected also my time-based hand movement from left to right while painting that series. Why not to make a time-based moving images out of it before separating the individual pages into a book, a flipping gesture?
.. with with a resulting moving image:
Video #2: Time Gesture (0:11 min)
Here, I became more aware that this moving image would benefit from a sound. Sound of turning pages, of human gestures in talking? of MRI informing my parallel project? Or more of a sound that matches the rhythm of the movement?
A book format:
- Chadwick, H. (2011) Helen Chadwick : of mutability, [Rev. rep.] ed. Edited by James, N. P. London: Cv Publications, c2011, c1989
After part 2 of my assignment development work I sketched down some further ideas of gesture and ambiguity – informed by one of my previous works (Fig. 1).
.. this led to an installation of two Rhenalon plates, crossing each other (Fig. 2)
… and eventually, I placed the transparent cross (Fig 2) in-front of my dark laptop screen, making several still images at different lights and merging them into a performative moving image:
Video: Ambiguous Screen Gesture (0:03 min)
This seemed a spin-off idea informing my parallel project on MRI and self. I modulated time- sequence and added a MRI machine sound: Ambiguous Screen Gesture MRI #3
With being intrigued by installation of transparent surfaces I had to try out one more projection.
Using a human scale perspex plate (180x50cm) and projecting my recorded light performance Hand-Catch-Screen-Performance, through it, at the right wall the images are displayed. My hand as an additional ‘life’ performance act distorting, interrupting the projection, adding more layers of reality and meaning to it.
=> With these two set-ups, I am wondering about scale, human size, got reminded once again about Jutta Koether’s body of work, and how the viewer, the audience can be involved, engaged in the narrative, the work itself.
Clothing as a proxy body, sign for human presence or absence.
How do I relate to clothing? What kind of clothes would resonate for me as an identifier? I was pondering the exploration of my suitcase aka object-box and my personal project. I decided to work around thoughts for my personal project (‘Medical imaging aka MRI and identity’), wanting to explore my own journey when I did my MRI inspection some months ago, kind of visual memory
The first thing that intrigued me when revisiting this is the ‘dresscode’ in clinics, also required when undergoing MRI: the patient gown (Fig. 1).
The skin that covers the body, but the back is open. A simple cloth, anonymous, concealing and also revealing. One had to undress in small booth on the corridor, leaving one own’s dress there (hanging, folded) and returning with the gown. A change – making it clear that from now on the person is a patient, part of the institution, a clear role, a function.
I talked through this with fellow student Alan, who works in a clinic, and he was willing to get hold of a gown, possibly also to make an image. Ideas of sharing across borders – and possibilities of collaborative work might surface.
The Patient Gown – Concealing – or …?
To move on, I looked online at those gowns, and with my own memory of the gown I wore. Moving on to remake, questions of size, scale and material?
Eventually, I turned to mylar and a human scale size with several connotations related to materiality:
the idea of translucent material, is the body, or person concealed or revealed? Reference to my mental images of how I felt (and others’ possible as well), vulnerable, exposed.
- the idea of smooth surface: is it a double skin, without external references? Blank, ‘innocent’, and behind could be quite different
- Mylar is a material one uses for masking (airspray painting) , an material for a purpose, not for its own sake.
- Mylar, is not as flexible as fabric or paper, hard to fold, better to roll; when folded a crease is permanently made (not removable or to be flattened out), but easy to cut, and to tape; also easy to paint on with acrylic or oil paint (as checked in my previous explorations)
- My remake from memory and online visuals is possibly a reference to how the patient gown and its relation in a clinic setting could be considered: anonymous, only half-way personal, replaceable? Makes me wonder how my different placements of the remade gown will work – different context, a double remove from clinic reality (1. remade, 2. context)
The remake was quickly done, made outside on a sunny wonderful fall day.
Time and context:
After the making and laying it on the ground – ideas popped up of abandoned gown, lost, vulnerable? Not used as a gown – but what if that prop is a person? Reminds me how we connect belongings to a person self. What might the connotation trigger in the viewer’s mind? I haven’t asked.
Fig. 3 – 6: The abandoned gown – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view)
To move away from a mere visual depiction in a quick painting and to include some connotated aspects is quite challenging. Do I perceive it the same way as others? Perhaps to upload for peer review and see…
Continuing with taking the made-gown up, putting it somewhere closer, more protected, leaning on a tree, looking from front and backview. Thinking about context (surrounding space, environment) and how shapes and line could work together. A start towards further abstraction (eg Fig. 9)
Fig. 7 – 10: The attached gown – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view)
In Fig 8, I added later back in my studio tapes for cropping, giving a different appeal of the painting. On the other hand I find that additional layers, e.g. tapes might give also another layer of meaning. I experimented with more line markings as part of the composition, giving a more abstract appeal but also could be considered as a contained frame (Fig. 9).
With these two ‘scenarios’ or sensibilities, I started to experiment on site further with the idea of loss, abandoned – alongside a sense of fragmentation (displacement and disembodiment). I applied a stencil and partly a monotype technique that I explored in the previous part: abstraction and reduction. My starting point was Fig. 10 – the more abstracted backview, with ‘fleeing’ shapes.
Fig. 11 – 14: The fragmented gown – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view):
=> the repetitive placing and re-placing of a ‘gown-stencil’ allowed me to leave painted traces on the paper, to overcome a too representational and literal depiction of the scene in front of me, and to abstract connotated thoughts of fragmentation, memory and ‘fleeing’ shapes. What if the idea of vulnerability and stability are reversed? Fig. 13 (photo doesn’t show it) was an exploration of a movable paper, the support as ‘fleeing’, the shape of the gown static. Just abstract explorations. From these quickly done series, I find Fig. 12 the more interesting one, as it plays more with shapes, fragments, edges and (in-)stability.
Next scenery was placing the gown in my car. Having the car with me allowed me to take more stuff with, what allowed me to do above experiments.
Fig. 15 &16: The protected or cared for gown – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view):
=> Instead of my gouache, acrylic approach, I used oil paint sticks for the first one (Fig. 15). A more gestural and searching approach to the scene and the connotations of protected as well as vulnerable. The second one more a ‘protected’ perspective, relaxed and stable in the backseat of the car.I considered in the composition the interesting interplay between the gown and the head protection of the car. I am not so convinced by the contained central compositions.
After the longer session outdoors I looked the other day at the domestic scenes.
Fig. 17 – 20: The domestic gown as actor – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view):
=> quite different appeal. It seemed the gown took more presence. Lost at the front door outside, being a staged actor on the toilette, a narrative in itself between Fig. 18 & Fig, 19. After a long day, I out the gown mockup in the hallway, I was fascinated be the strong presence of it (Fig. 20). With a deeper viewpoint, making it more solid and dominant actor in the composition, more refined versus a rather sketchy background. I find the two last ones (Fig. 19, 20) more appealing for the bolder contrast. However, contrast in itself would give a different indication of a message.
With my explorations of the mockup ‘patient gown’ I was interested in exploring further ideas of fragmentation, memory, and instability. I decided to work in my A4 sketchbook rather gestural with a similar stencil and moving approach as I did in preparation for my large scale sculptural painting. and inspired by my on-site experiments (see Fig. 9, 11, and 12)
Fig. 21 – 24: slider images sketchbook – A4 (acrylic, gouache, charcoal)
=> I was intrigued by the multiplicity of the shape. Reflecting back on my initial thoughts of the patient gown in a clinical setting, with the rather anonymous, at times displacing sensation of wearing it, I do feel that this might be developed further, possible ideas for my personal project.
- A mockup clothing can have strong connotations of human presence. On the other hand it could be merely seen as an obsolete thing trashed or thrown away. Nevertheless, through learned patterns and beliefs the simple mockup has a certain power that reminds me of my research in fetishism in part two.
- My chosen material (mylar) provided a rigid material that could stand. Partly flexible, it was at times more responsive, falling back to more stable structures, kind of memory not lost, not completely yet.
- The juxtaposition or assembly of multiple paintings (see slider on top of this post) does convey a sense of narrative, a time-based movement of the mockup as ‘actor’ – a journey.
- Painting in a sketchy, loose way, strongly allows the visual exploration of ideas, resulting partly in some further experimental works (see Fig. 9, or Fig. 11-14)
- Digging deeper into the relationship of the mockup and its placement in space allows to convey narratives (e.g. Fig. 18 & 19) and to convey a sense of emotional response.
Working with color quickly:
- I tend to mix the main local color beforehand on a palette. Being outdoors I prefer to use either tear-off palettes from coated paper or just milk-boxes, cut open as a rectangular shape (re-using trash). Mixing those local color beforehand allows me to loosen up in the following painting and to ensure that colors are not totally off. Painting and mixing no the go and on the support directly feels more direct and responsive.
Overall, some preparation is quite useful, e.g. having my tools ready to go, knowing what is where. However, I do not like the meticulous preparation of each color as some suggest in instructional books. In the studio with more refined rendering of tone this might be more useful. Working quickly means for me to be present in the moment, be responsive to my embodied sensations, what I see, feel, hear, think. Not all elements that go into a quickly made sketch visible through the naked eye. Often, associations and connotations turn into painted strokes. And for that I prefer to mix directly on my support.
– pre mixing: accuracy, more fluid painting without thinking about matching colors
– mixing directly on support: more gestural, expressive, responsive to the scene and my imagination, at times less constraining
Further reflection on other artists:
How paint can support meaning and interpretation:
- Vincent van Gogh‘s A Pair of Shoes , 1886 one of his paintings of his time in Paris was and is often a trigger for wide psychological and symbolic interpretations. Apparently he stated once that ‘he bought old work shoes at a flea market. Then he walked through the mud in them until they were filthy. Only then did he feel they were interesting enough to paint’ (Van Gogh Museum). Here ‘worn-out’ would mean be exposed to a person, with an ordinary usage as a functional object. The gestural application of paint supports the sense of ‘crudeness’, of heavily used shoes, no precious objects to wear only a few times. I can see that he painted from life, just whatever captured his attention, a contextual and gestural expression of sight and sensations.
- Philip Guston The Coat, 1977 is one of the works in series he made after his rather abstract painting and often called “urban primitive.” (MoMA) The rather graphic, comic-style depiction with flat appearance could be seen on various levels, as a depiction of his coat and shoes, and as metaphor for his stance and personal position in the world around him. Here the graphic, flat application of paint could possibly relate back to the identity of the artist himself and how he perceived the world. I can relate to this approach in the way I work, as part of my paintings are not visible elements but also a reflection on sensations and thoughts.
- Lisa Milroy’s Shoes, 1985: repetition of similar shoes with a sense of difference in sameness. She painte them ‘neatly’ and in order, but a closer look reveals more disorder. They remind me of bugs or mussels. The overall picture seems like an encoded message, with some pairs conveying a sense of alphabet, words, language, e.g. the V shaoe appearing twice, but with some adjustments. For me a visual reflection on Deleuze’s conception of ‘Difference and Repetition’ (1968). The refined and repetitively and orderly application of paint could relate to the sense of collection and alienation (as missing context). Objects are becoming part of an assemblage, a different wholeness. Quite contrasting to van Gogh’s shoes as showing the individuality, Milroy’s shoes are missing nearly any individuality though the seem each to be different in appearance. I find that Milroy’s work are more of studio paintings, with prior reflection on composition and key aspects of how it might come across.
- Inselspital Bern, Switzerland. At: http://www.neurorad.insel.ch (accessed 10 Oct 2018)
After having some good and some less good experience with painting with acrylic on glossy and transparent supports, especially on protective plastic sheets, I decided to see with fellow students on FB and to do some more formal painting testing.
The good thing with acrylic paint on plastic is that it can be easily removed as a skin and be transferred to another support (Fig 1 – paint removed from a glass plate). The bad thing is the same, it doesn’t stick. Moving forward with my sculptural painting, painting on packaging materials, and with possibly installations with a looking through effect (see my trials before), I found that better knowledge how paint behaves on what kind of surface would be worth the effort to put into this testing.
As suggested by Ros I purchased in a local DIY store a primer for plastic supports that is supposed to enforce the adhesion of paint to the surface without the risk of flaking off. Catherine informed be that oil paint could be used directly on perspex.
My set up (Fig. 2) to ensure that I covered translucent as well opaque paint (to look from the other side) and based on my main color spots on my worktable aka object-box (red and blue, I mixed the following in acrylic and oil paint. Cd Red is normally opaque, but interestingly Cd red imit. in acrylic is translucent, ultramarin is translucent, whereas cobalt blue is half-half, why I decided to mix it with opaque titane white and part opaque indigo.
painted support in acrylic and oil: transparent and opaque each, red and blue
- I have to wait till oil paint is dry. Acrylic is dry and it became obvious that regular plastic in the form of protective plastic sheets (what I used in the past for transfer processes) is actually the worse in keeping paint on it. A similar effect on household plastic especially with acrylic washes. The use of primer help though.
- Translucent washes is harder to do with acrylic, oil paint behaves smoother and more uniform. An experience I already encountered during PoP1.
- Overall, I found that oil paint stays more saturated than acrylic paint, especially with translucent paints and very strongly to notice with ultramarine blue (Fig. 12)
- Mylar is already translucent, the back-view shows a more milky, whitening effect
- The use of primer reduce light transmission, making it translucent. What could be used possibly as an advantage by painting parts of transparent ground translucent, a transition effect.
- Comparing the three transparent options: window color sheet, perspex and rhenalon (is used as a support for printmaking), I could discern that painting on window color sheets desaturates the color slightly, not sure why this could be.
- Overall, I am pleased how easy it was to paint on all supports, but the protective plastic sheet. It seems that acrylic derived sheets do have enough tooth to keep the paint on it.
- How long it takes for oil to completely dry, I have to wait. The same for how stable all paints are over time. Thus I will amend this post, possibly after one month
Afterthought 12 Dec:
On the edited version the comment relating to the alcoves ‘disappearance’ was that it would be better to make the composition first with the camera and refine later. There is certainly something for me to rethink when making ‘quick’ snapshot on what vsually attracts me. It would have been truly better and more relevant for me to possibly make sketches and think visually in that place, to explore deeper on site what it is. Perhaps, I got sidertracked and the main reason for me being there was the exhibition of Stefan Burger.
Lesson learned, embrace such ‘disturbances’ and look what it makes it such way.
During my exhibition visit of Stefan Burger at the Kunsthalle Bern I felt attracted by the row and vintage looking row of heaters. I posted that quickly combined imaged in the discuss forum under ‘just because’ thread, and Clive gave some excellent feedback:
First, that it is a typology, a classification of types belonging to one group. Second, that it is accuracy if of importance in such subjects (perspecte, orientation, size)
Therefore, I adjusted white level, and perspective in photoshop and modified with the clone stamp the edges to make it more coherent. Although, this manipulation reduced the visual depth and impact of the alcove. Partly due to the perspective cropping as well.
Here the results (also posted in the forum):