Thursday, November 20, 2008

deskilled process

Drawing (coca cola crate), 2008
cast iron grindings, acrylic, Fabriano paper, 10 x 13 inches

Well, the wood grain in the last picture is not the real thing, but it looks like it. Here the coca cola crate does look like the real thing, and was actually created by the real thing, but it doesn't look the way we expect it to.

This is one of a series of "drawings" created using various powders, and gravity. We are familiar with photograms, which use light sensitive emulsion to record the effects of an object deflecting light. Here gravity is used, and the object concerned deflects particles - just not photons, but physical particles that accumulate showing the effects of that deflection. The result describes the object quite faithfully via its edges, so can be considered a drawing, but is not created as traditional drawings are, through the mediation of the artist. Its a kind of factory drawing.... more direct than the "Leonardo Drawing" you can buy at the mall...

And very much in tune with my paintings - that use particles of paint set in motion by the compressed air in my spray gun - that record the deflection that occurs to paint particles when a stencil is placed on the canvas, obstructing their path.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

faux grain

Faux grain and egg dish, 2006
oil paint on board, 14 x 14 inches

No spray gun used here, I was back to stenciling with a soft bristle brush - over contrasting colors of oil paint squeegeed into wood grain patterns by that clever little tool from Home Depot.

Emulating the appearance of another (usually more expensive) material is a "traditional" decorative technique used on furniture and interiors. Interestingly during the 20th Century this practice has also been used to distress paint and surfaces, furniture, carpets, etc to look older and more traditional than they are - as older has been associated with craftsmanship and rarity in the age of industrial production. The idea of falseness or pretense, and trompe l'oeil also ties into the fine arts with the surrealist movement. The difference is that decorative faux finish is (kinda) meant to pass as real, whereas surreal faux is meant to surprise by obviously being unreal. The use of replicated imagery also links to Picasso's first deliberate collage using printed chair-caning pattern, using industrially produced imagery to play with the notion of real and unreal...of both the pattern and whether a collage, especially using such a lowly material can claim status as art.

It is fascinating to experiment in this area, with so many ideas to play with and new ways of combining and expressing them. All because pigment has been concentrated in particular layouts!

Like my other work, Faux grain and egg dish is unmistakeably created using deskilled techniques - the graining tool and stenciling round a plastic dish - but more so than my other work this one creates a (semi) realistic illusion. There's a luscious gravity to this, and yet a childish delight in the wooden shapes that seem to be lifting off. Flowers, even, where no flowers would be. To be real, as the illusion suggests, the wood and the shapes lifting off from it would have to be crafted by a skilled artisan...or a factory router...referring back to different methods of production.