I’ve discovered that Australian artist Michael Staniak is interested in many of the same ideas about the place of painting in this time of digital technology. Staniak is a materials and process-based artist also interested in the concepts and aesthetics of his abstract, texture, and colour field contemporary paintings. My outcomes are and will be different from Staniak’s but here are some similar ideas I am also pursuing in my current studio research and in my collaborative project Double Negative with book and text contemporary artist Emma Lehto:
Illusion versus image (IRL – in real life versus on screen; trompe l’oeil)
the hand of the artist replicating the look of a digitally made image
the relationship of the surface of a painting and the surface of a digital screen
painting at this time in the history of images and visual culture
Additional ideas that can be stimulated through Staniaks’ work which I gleaned from an online interview between the artist and Jeffrey Uslip, Chief Curator of the Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis:
code as underpainting
revealing the digital “code” as a way of revealing the process
how a computer sees images versus how human eyes need to see the image
digital debris as raw material for pigments or sculptural materials
abstraction/interpretation of an image as seen through the eyes of a computer
I’m investigating “mirror paintings” for a series of painted works based on a simple Claud Lorain mirror I made from a prop used in my experimental film The Healing Room.
Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto has been painting figures on mirror or polished metal since the 1960’s. His figures are typically politically charged and the mirrored surface includes the viewer into the composition. A large ongoing body of his work revolves around the use of mirrors.
More recent, paintings on mirrors by American Rachel Fienstein could be seen as directly coming from art history, portraits of female figures from history such as famous ballerinas.
From art and design history there are Chinese mirror paintings and European decorative mirrors and furniture. Elaborate Meissen porcelain frames give the appearance of a framed painting while reflecting the scene in front of the viewer.
Whether painted on the surface, or painting in reverse, mirror paintings turn negative white space in a composition into the immediate environment. A more recent work by Pistoletto of a chain link fence with a toxic warning sign puts you the other side of the fence and in the danger.
Coen Young’s mirror paintings are a kind of crude daguerreotype process. A blend of painting and photographic sensibilities.