I’ve been working steady on my paintings and I haven’t finished any of the big projects I’ve been working on but I decided to post some of the smaller things that have been going through my head. The painting titled “Cathedral” was started in 2012 and then left to collect dust since then. As it was painted on raw canvas I was worried about its stability over time so one of the reasons I went back into it was to try to improve its longevity. When painting on raw canvas there are several issues that can become apparent over time, if the fabric isn’t washed before being painted on it will discolour over time due to chemicals in the fabric. And, if you use anything but distilled water on the canvas that can also cause issues with stability over time. The single biggest problem with raw canvas is that it’s very hard to clean and accumulates dust over time. So, in addition to reworking the painting I made an effort to improve its durability. I’ve been moving away from raw canvas lately but continue to use it in certain circumstances.
The other painting in this post (the 18 x 24 untitled) is as durable as paintings can be. Stretched on washed and gessoed canvas, protected for support induced discolouration (SID) and then coated with two layers of a GAC-500 isolation medium and finally varnished with a UV resistant, removable polymer. Paintings done like this one are easy to clean and can last a very long time without changing at all.
And here are a few others I’ve been working on lately, they’re not really related to the others. One is acrylic on paper, just a sketch. The others are on rigid supports because of the heavy impasto techniques used, they’re an experiment in “mixed media.”
“The audience, as ground, shapes and controls the work of art.”
Roland Barthes wrote, in “The Death of the Author” that a work of art (or anything creative) no longer belongs to the creator when they are finished it. We look to the author or the artist for an explanation of the work of art when they are usually the least equipped to offer such an explanation due to their lack of objectivity. The artist only knows his intent, and very rarely sees the actual result of his labours. It is the audience who controls what becomes of the work of art, the artist only offers the project to the public.
Take, for instance, Ylvis’ hit song “What does the Fox Say.” This song was created as an advertisement for a new season of the Norwegian TV show, “Tonight with Ylvis.” The writers never meant for it to be the sensation that it became, saying of the song, “This song is made for a TV show and is supposed to entertain a few Norwegians for three minutes – and that’s all.” This was the intention, the reality was quite different. In America the song was taken out of context and made into a hit, how many people have seen “Tonight with Ylvis.”
The point is that you never really know what you have. When an artist says “I like to let my art speak for itself” it’s because they really don’t know what they have, and I think any honest artist would be willing to admit this. The history of the painting (the process) or the intention of the artist may be interesting but the creator never has the last word when it comes to critical analysis of their own work. Jackson Pollock numbered his paintings to avoid people projecting the title onto his image but, since his numbers weren’t in sequence, people tried to decipher the meaning of the numbers to understand his paintings.
Acrylic paintings much less fragile than oil paintings. Acrylics are basically plastics, so using them on a canvas is like sealing that surface with plastic and can actually add to the longevity of the surface. For this reason it’s perfectly possible to use acrylics on raw canvas or other textiles without them negatively impacting the substrate. Gesso will still increase the life span of the painting but the acrylics will not eat away at the support like oils or solvents do. Additionally, many acrylics now come with a UV protective agent which helps to protect the painting from the harmful effects of the sun.
As it stands the gallery in this website is much smaller than it could have been. I entrusted photographic copies of my work to an external hard drive which recently died leaving me with only very few photos of paintings which have sold. Had these works been included, the gallery section of this website would be at least double the size but as it is I have no way to get them back (so much for the archival quality of digital media). This inconvenient reality means that I actually have to pick up the brush and start painting again.
The work that you see in this website’s gallery has two sources, first is the work that I kept because it was significant to me in some way, second is work that simply hasn’t sold in art galleries (I think 5 of the paintings in the gallery are sold). In a way it’s fortunate, it has severed me from my artistic past and fixed me firmly upon the future. All my past work is consumed in digital fire and a new body of work, built on the old foundation has now become possible. Misfortune is a golden opportunity.