breaking through the surface [paintings in progress]

Saturday 7 August 2010

more painting activity, paintings that are resurfacing again, breaking the surface tension in the matter of paint – developed from a liking for lichen-ness, off the wall and onto canvas… unearthing new content, in the source/subject of the painting and in the actions/processes of painting…

currently defined as paintings, given the use of traditional painting media and their appearance of something painted, in their overall flatness of the surface, but the surface textures discord with the formality of the painted surface, in the visual plane which denies perspective, in the containment of the square – a little disorientating in scale, disconnected from reality, but still a mirror of nature, one that could trick the eyes into seeing elements of beauty therein… and i find myself still consumed by the concept or dichotomy between perceptual depth and physical flatness in my work…

i have been considering the issue of them seeming to be contrived, in that i have, deliberately so, set out to achieve something that is expressing the wonder of the elements of nature in a manmade environment – and i have visually recorded and thus blogged some of those steps in the process. it seems to be in my character to be meticulous, in the attention given to the details – this may be an overly controlling approach in my painting, in that it offsets the possibility that some other form of art could arise out of the accidental outcomes of a series of processes – as nice as they might appear to be, they would not be driven by the original concept…

how ever art is made, constructed, modelled or fashioned, it will be in some way contrived and artists will seek to express content, meaning, emotions or philosophies through the outward appearance of their art… the artificiality of art (as object or process) is surely at the heart of any conceptual content… i once called it just smoke and mirrors but there is more to it than that… perhaps it is this very contradiction, between an earnestness to convey or express something unique, individual, with a desire for it to be perceived or valued as an object in itself, which informs the necessary requirement for an objective title, a lichenscape or liken-scape…

enough words; some images perhaps… these are proving to be quite difficult paintings to resolve, but i have the underlying matter of the content to remind me where i am duly headed…

if you don’t want to see the results, look away now…

lichenscape I

lichenscape II…

you can see previous working states of these paintings – achieving a perfect lichen-ness part one, part two and part three – the small discoveries & minor incidents within the wider process of creating a painting (or object of art)…

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.
John Ruskin

current exhibition: Rebirth, curated by Lorraine Cooke, is an exhibition of Contemporary Japanese Art inspired by Ancient Jomon culture and Japanese aesthetic, in collaboration with the Unearthed exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. The Rebirth exhibition features works by Sahoko Aki, Megumi Baba, Shaun Caton, Veronica Grassi, Jazz Green, Tsunaki Kuwashima, Barbara Leaney and Keika Sako. Rebirth, the exhibition, is at the gallery Art 1821 in Norwich and runs from 29th July to 8 September 2010.

5 thoughts on... breaking through the surface [paintings in progress]

  1. Charles

    These are wonderful, but just coming from a rather dull perspective, how do you think the surface will stand up to time in terms of ‘archival-ness’ considering that there is no varnish?

  2. Jazz

    thank you for the question… it is an issue worth some discussion…

    i have been using (in the main) acrylic paints for many reasons – great adaptability in viscosity/transparency/texture, very quick drying time, no nasty toxics or fumes – and lastly, they are kinder to my skin!!! of course, i will integrate/combine other ‘stuff’ to affect the qualities of texture/surface, in developing my own painting sensibilities – and i do use varnish…

    i guess that the progress photographs make the surfaces appear rather fragile but these are in fact quite robust – the accumulative processes of layering & erasure determines how yielding or resilient the surface is, and this, in part, will define the visual outcome – that is, they are rigorously put to the ‘test of time’ but on my own terms…

    in terms of general archival-ness i think that acrylics have not been around long enough to be compared with oils – and what we find aesthetically pleasing in an oil painting now may not be how it was originally painted, such are the variations in pigments/lightfastness – blues for example fade very quickly and everything yellows fom the oil content…

    perhaps one should heed the guidance of the paint manufacturers in their claims for longevity/lightfastness as these would be quite rigorously controlled lab tests…

    i recently saw some oil paintings from the 1950’s in a local exhibition and they exhibited the same characteristic yellowing and crazing associated with the old masters… this ageing/patina aspect is generally not intended of course, but speaking for myself i find this perceptual aspect of the painting’s ‘surface’ as an ‘object’ is a major part of my own creative aesthetic…

    gosh, what a lot of words i’ve written… thanks again, i hope that it makes some sense…

  3. Charles

    What a lovely response and thankyou jazz! Sorry, i assumed that you didnt varnish as the surface is so tactile and rich.

    I recently contacted GOLDEN who said that they beleived that there paints and mediums would stand well archivally without the use of varnish…but pherhaps ‘they would say that.’!

    Ive found that using calcium carbonate with matte medium and acrylic creates an almost oil pastel richness and matte density of colour but my teacher has been ‘lambasting’ me over not varnishing – which unfortuntalety ruins the completely matte surface that I realised by using calcium carbonate in the first place, so I am slightly at a loss. I did try burnishing the layer of varnish actually by finger (matte varnish) but it still lost most of its appeal.

    It might be that for me I move away from the matte surfaces conceptually and bridge it towards more archival stability,but how I love the surface tension and glimmer between oily matte through to glossy glazes…

  4. Jazz

    thank you for the recent comment…

    it’s good to consider these issues but i wouldn’t regard the strictly archival/conservation aspect as the most critical factor in developing one’s artwork when still an art student – as it’s all quite experiential & experimental stuff, it may not be regarded as a major contribution to one’s creative oeuvre in the future!

    alternatively, fragility/ephemerality could be a key concept of the work…

    and artists don’t always go by what the books or tutors say!

    :-)

  5. Charles

    Hi Jazz

    Many thanks for taking the time to write your comments! Its really appreciated!

    You hit the mark by mentioning the painters with unusual surfaces!

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