Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Current Ideas on Painting

I have recently been using a technique of painting that was developed by the painter Gerhard Richter.  He uses a technique of dragging a piece of soft plastic over the surface of his painted canvases, to blur and obscure, changing the reading of the image.

I have been exploring this technique through using a decorator's brush, pulling the brush over the surface of paint, slightly obscuring and in some cases completely obscuring the image, making difficult the reading of the image.  I wanted the evidence of the brush, the paint and the marks made by human intervention.  The idea of hiding the brush-marks, hiding the evidence of the hand and arm movements is a fallacy to me these days.

We have photographic and digital machines that can do this better.  I do not think we should  hide the reality of a painting being a painting.  Though I am interested in how we reveal idioms of photography through paint.  Why hide this reality?  We should embrace it, revel in it - reveal something through its medium.

Explore the space between the mind and the surface.  Reveal the construct of our continual re-constructing of reality.

 I am interested in the ways we perceive imagery and how it interrupts the reading of the image.  The purpose is in exploring how our minds decide, on our behalf, how it is deciphering the image, to read the information given in the painting.

Our negotiation with reality presented as images and our subsequent perception of reality lending itself to our mediation and how we decide what makes an image, how it should be and how we capture an image in our minds from something made difficult to see.

Jacques Lacan remarked in his analysis that human beings, unlike animals, recognise themselves in the reflected image, therefore contributing to the development of our identity and our position in the world.  It is through the reflected that we build an identity to show onto the world and that we believe what we are told by those around us who were integral to our upbringing: 'You have your Dad's eyes', 'You have your Mum's nose' or 'Granddad's mannerisms'.  All lend themselves to our subconscious mind adding these thoughts from our family to our identity, in the recesses of our mind.

We look in a mirror and see a representation (mind) of a representation (mirror) of ourselves.  We are aware of existence and seek the mirror image in those around us, our psychological reflected in our family and friends.  This in turn builds relationships that may last a lifetime or for a short time - either way, we respond to something in another that is within us.  Our sense of the self reflected in other objects.

It is this hypothesis in the role of the Mass Media and how they use particularities of character and behaviour to present images we will respond to - an aspiration, an ideology, a trait.  Something we will recognize within ourselves and in turn buy into or fall prey for the ideal presented, for their profit.  It is the job of critique to reveal the '[seduction] of false promises' (1).  To reveal the deception of corporations that will only create a world of 'unknown appetites' (2) which can not be fulfilled.  This hidden gap of want, need and craving.  The conflicting desires for brands that fulfil nothing substantial in our lives, other than the corporations need to feed us these brands that only say to others:  'We own you!'.

So, how does this relate to the paintings above?

I am asking these questions of my mind:
  • What am I looking at?  
  • How do I represent what I am deciphering?  
  • How does my memory negotiate with newly received information?  
  • What is my brain leaving out from what it sees and how do I represent this hidden reality?  
  • How do I see myself and ergo the society I am part of and contribute to?
  • How does Media affect the way I perceive reality?
These are areas I am researching through painting and installation.

Adam Grose

1:  Jacques Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, (London: Verso, 2009) pp. 44-46
2:  Ibid