Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Reflections on the painted surface

Applying the oil paint layer on top of the acrylic under-painting several things occur to me:

 The need to focus on the pure abstract compositional elements of the work (the relationship between the vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines, positive and negative shapes and spaces, and the patterns and rhythms of the forms) even while the 'image' is anchored in literal observation of an actual prepared collage and still functions as a trompe l' oeil.  
The importance of balancing colour and tone as key elements of the composition- to allow colours to 'resonate' by mixing complimentary chromatic greys and browns of various degree of saturation and intensity and calibrating tones  to the right degree - so that white is the lightest tone.  
The importance of not over painting - just allowing the fresh gestural marks to fall into place with an apparent 'naturalness' or spontaneity - to keep the gestural painterly qualities of the medium.  
The positive and negative shapes of the spaces that are framed and defined by the forms of torn or folded paper with  trompe  l 'oeil shadows ( like doors or windows ) are areas of 'emptiness'. In this 'emptiness'  the 'image' (or the image of the image') is both revealed and hidden simultaneously. This is in effect a picture of a non picture, a depiction of 'de-piction'  or an a painting of 'un-painting' ( to use a term borrowed from Francios Jullien ) - the act of painting is in a sense an 'assertion' of a 'negation'  
In a world of electronic image overload can the act of painting, (or active contemplation) ironically, perhaps be a way of 'earthing' this charge, of bringing it back 'down to earth' both literally and metaphorically, and of rendering the world of perceptual proliferation, of slick image production and of powerful visual illusion 'safe' again?

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