I’m currently exploring the use of computer software to generate broken landscapes. Paintings are transcribed as textures in virtual environments that explore displacement and borders in a digital realm.
The original painting, above right, was used as a displacement map and combined with photographs to create 3D renders inspired by the landscape of Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses, in Brazil
Early MFA work where I was exploring redacting landscape. This ultimately led to some sculptural interventions
The Stalkers are journeymen trying to navigate a strange place known as the Zone where the normal laws of nature seem to have broken down. It is believed that their ultimate destination – ‘the room’ – contains the power to be granted almost anything in the world, or perhaps where they will face some kind of judgement. As this information is passed down by generations of Stalkers the journey becomes a spiritual one and the room a manifestation of faith. As they navigate the Zone they are tested by dangerous, invisible disturbances. It seems that nature itself, through some major cataclysmic event or divine intervention, has rewritten its own laws to survive. The Zone has become altogether more mysterious, alien and hostile. The presence of the Stalkers causes the environment to react and change, yet this also has an unseen effect on them.
Tarkovsky references painting in his films, such as the slow pan shot across The Hunters in The Snow by Peter Bruegel the Elder in Solaris. It makes sense to think that, as Slavov Zizek suggests, the Zone in Stalker is the blank canvas of the cinema’s silver screen, a place upon which the stalkers themselves find themselves trapped, roaming, trying to arrive at a cryptically unreachable nirvana. It permeates the film with an invisible radiation-like energy.
The film has a remarkable sense of place. It’s based on the 1972 novel Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, who also wrote the screenplay. It was filmed in Estonia and released in 1979.
Mark Titmarsh’s book on Expanded Painting has had a large influence on how I’ve been thinking about how I can relate my work to painting and at the same time consider alternative media and the creative directions it can lead to.
Working in the expanded field of an art form allows it to open up and reach into new areas both materially and conceptually – this has encouraged me to really engage with the edges of my practice. The paradoxal influence of working in a different medium to painting concentrates effort into acknowledging painting within making my work.
The book engages with process of making, relating the philosophy of Heidegger to the virtues of aesthetics and suggests that the ontological language of painting is free to move away from and transcend its formal origins, and its relationship to process and the artist allows this to happen in the studio.
Even though painting in the expanded field has been investigated by many artists I feel it has had a pivotal role in helping me find a route away from the comfortable zone of using just paint as a medium, to include elements of photography, sculpture and artificial light-sources as part of a more appropriate and interesting visual vocabulary of an installation, through which I can explore my ideas and activate relationships between the various elements using colour, shape, and space.
I began to explore these relationships fairly early on in the course but it had always been somewhat anchored in painting, which I was struggling with as a medium when my ideas were sometimes better suited to working with photography or sculpture. Following reading this book I was able to better combine the two as installations.