The Origin of Ideas – Observation Without Manipulation – Large Scale Painting

Detail of a painting that uses collage, stencils, liquitex paint and mediums. In particular Liquitex Super Heavy Gel. Lee Gascoyne 2011

Click on the image to view more of this artwork.

The first 4 canvases (top row, left to right) of my painting Observation Without Manipulation are an exploration of subject and surface grounded in a process orientated painting technique. Imagery is intentionally restrained; my intent being to limit representational clues as to the nature of the subject, which by the very nature of the painting process becomes as much about painting and personal narrative as it does subject. During the creation of these paintings I became aware of two things: firstly the difference between thinking about something and the physical act of making something, and secondly that the highly reflective surfaces of the paintings could potentially capture my notions of inferred pictorial space as related to my ideas about painted mirrors. I realised that by staging objects to be reflected in these canvases surfaces, I could add another level of engagement by the viewer that bears direct reference to my own observations and ideas. The second 4 canvases are therefore paintings of staged imagery reflected on the surface of the first 4 (1 through 4 respectively). It should be noted here that the properties of mirrors as well as painted mirrors are being referenced, but without their inclusion. This, I feel leads the viewer to seek to potentially ‘solve’ the visual clues in front of them, given enough observation and consideration. For example, the first 4 canvases surfaces will reflect their surroundings, whereas the second 4 are presented reflections. Therefore this ‘effect’ of solving the visual clues places the viewer on the spot by connecting them directly to the subject. In other words, the paintings are referring to the act of observation, as well as the reflective action of consciousness within the observer.

The next phase of this painting involved the appropriation of a cartoon, where two characters are engaged in the act of observing an image, one of which misinterprets the true nature of that image. I created a canvas to the same dimensions as all 8 previous canvases combined (inclusive of gaps), then substituted the cartoon’s image for my 8 canvases, thereby creating a stage by which to reference more deeply the nature of the observer to painting relationship. These canvases then form a whole piece, which then means that the painted characters would have to also be observing two more painted characters observing another 8 paintings, which is indeed what I painted.

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