While my practice encompasses mediums such as paint, photography, film and projections, paint is my main focus. Since Marcel Duchamp abandoned painting to display Ready-mades: works of art made from manufactured objects, other artists such as Sol Lewitt, have argued in their different practices that the actual concept of the art is the driving force of the work. These thoughts laid the foundation to what John Baldessari, termed Post-Conceptualism, which took the legacy of the conceptualists and applied it to contemporary art - where the concept(s) involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns.
Post-Conceptualism pushed me to ask myself a similar question: Jan Verwoert asked himself in his essay: “Why Are Conceptual Artists painting again?...” and my answer, similar to his was “Because they think it’s a good idea.” One of his main points is that given that the materiality of any art is impossible to escape, you can still explore the concept of a material (say painting) and its relevance in contemporary art, and additionally develop multiple interpretations (concepts) of the work outside of its materiality.
I chose to experiment with painting techniques such as; painting ready-mades, removing paint, blurring the imagery, overlapping images, and documenting the development of paintings to intertwine conceptual ideas into painting, question the nature of painting and open multiple interpretations. The main concept I wanted to explore was motion in paint. I was fascinated by Duchamp’s “Nude descending a staircase no2” which presented a juxtaposition of painting as a still medium, trying to depict something moving, opening questions about if these two concepts can co-exist?
Initially, I was influenced by William Kentridge’s drawing animations – photographing his drawings in stages to create stop-frame-animations, allowing him to explore narratives (a type of concept) for his art. I attempted to document the stages of my paintings to create stop-frame-animations which I could project onto canvases as an additional material for the painting and explore the materiality of painting. Is it just paint on a surface, or is it the artist taking any material and putting it onto a canvas? Is a painting no longer a painting if the artist uses dirt, or glass?
These experiments proved ineffective, as the paintings resulted in serving the film. When I projected the film onto the canvas, the painting became redundant, and I felt the painting should serve itself. I chose then to continue documenting my paintings in stages, but then looked towards other visual artists who incorporated motion into their paintings, such as Gerhard Richter – who sourced photographs of people in mid-motion to create blurred photo-like-paintings, which depicted figures in enigmatic points to suggest motion. I started painting figures in the midst or transition of motion, using blurred photographs I took, as a source material, to create paintings of motion set in gallery/studio spaces.
I initially wanted to use narratives as a conceptual device for my work, but the more I tried to build a narrative dynamic in my work, the more complicated the work became and drew away from the initial concept I wanted to explore. But I kept galleries and studio-spaces as the setting to create a narrative-lineage connecting my paintings together. I wanted to explore the capability of painting to depict motion, but also explore the contemporary context in which all art (including painting) is viewed, judged and interpreted conceptually, and labelled art i.e. galleries.