My latest work signifies something of a breakthrough in terms of what a jar of paint can depict: A degree of subjection is instantly attached to the contents of each jar. They no longer represent paint; they represent the essence of paint.
The properties of food have still been exploited in order to achieve the paint. But rather than describing the face value of the paint, labels have been attached that describe metaphorical and experiential attachment to the paint, based on the paint’s properties. For example, the label ‘Home’ is attached to paint made from tea. This is because the concept of a cup of tea contains within it connotations associated with the experience of being home.
The jar of paint is now able to communicate the notion that memory has an intrinsic and complex correspondence to the food we consume, and that preconception dictates our preference to food.
A notable juxtaposition is that, inherently, what I have created are still essentially jars of paint – meaning that they can be consumed, exchanged, revered and dismissed in the same way all products can. The notion of memory-based subjection and individual regard becomes restated as a consumable item.
I have also applied each paint to a surface in equal rectangular strips behind the corresponding jar. The nature of applying paint in this way seeks to remove subjection and seeks to regard application of paint as a reference – a tool which one can use to ascertain the nature and density of the paint at face value. The medium has therefore exchanged roles with the painting – for it is the medium that communicates an idea and the painting that becomes an object.
So, this is ‘where I’m at,’ as it were. But I believe that this breakthrough acts as a precursor to something grander, with more emphasis on the notion that memory and connotation can be appropriated as a consumable product.
Yesterday I endured the acquaintance of an extremely heavy, cumbersome and joyless piece of apparatus commonly known as a ‘camera.’ As some of you know, I have been asked to produce over twenty images of jars of home-made paint for a forthcoming exhibition at Forum Cafe, Sheffield. Whilst I am delighted at this prospect, it has also enabled me to ponder the virtue of photography as a means to communicate.
I have been using photography as a means to document for years now. The pictures I take are never deemed the actual work. They are used to share and promote my work with an audience, and to exchange ideas and correspond with other artists. They are also useful personally, to compare and analyse your own work in context. I have never, however, used photography solely to portray an idea. Here’s why:
- As a tool, the camera removes the artist from a subject to such an extent that coherence in communicating an idea is compromised. A camera will bound a concept to its own limitations, and the artist has little hand in emphasising that which they wish to depict.
- Your inherent perception of the physical world is lost as a compromise must be made between yourself and the viewfinder. The experience of taking pictures feels absent and you can’t immerse yourself in the experience; and if you can’t, how can an audience?
- Painting is able to capture the essence of life whereas photography conveys nothing other than the face-value of life: A photograph conveys an almost binary sense of reality, whereas painting conveys the complexity of reality.
- Image manipulation packages such a Photoshop render all imagery unreliable. Truth is lost in favour of achieving a perfect image.
- The main problem I have with photography is that, often, photographs say more about the camera than the person behind it. Any pleb can take a half-decent picture these days, and I am no exception. Everybody thinks they are a good photographer, but hardly anybody thinks they’re a good painter.
So, that’s the problem I have with photography. Hasn’t stopped me from completing a series of work comprised entirely of photographs though! If artists can’t completely contradict themselves then what can they do?! You can see this work at Forum Cafe, Sheffield, From August 12th until September 23rd. You can find more details here:
How can art made from food be made relevant?
A simple Google search of art and food conjures up so many insipid images of landscapes moulded from vegetables you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped in to a six years olds’ re-imagining of Emmerdale Farm. And whilst it is endlessly fascinating that cauliflower looks a bit like the wool of a sheep I believe a more conceptual approach to the very notion of food can produce art with a more coherent and informed spiritual prowess. How? By extracting the very material of food and applying it to artistic practice: By turning food into paint, in other words.
So why is this of any value? Well, first of all, let’s consider food as a concept. The very notion of food contains within it a vast array of social, political, environmental and religious implications: And individual foodstuff contains implications all of its own. Take an apple, for example. When befittingly considered and engaged with, an apple can represent anything from the symbolic representation of forbidden fruit to a social comment on local produce. If we are to create paint from such affluently encompassing material, then said paint will forever be loaded with such considerations, even when applied to a surface and used to represent objects and concepts far removed from its own: So whilst as a material it will be intrinsically pure, it will simultaneously still contain concepts associated with its original physical state, and so will be intrinsically laden.
Let it also be said that there is a certain juxtaposition to be found in the complex processes found within making paint and the purity of the end product. Indeed, I would suggest that paint, when produced manually, contains as much artistic merit as paint applied to a surface. So much so, that they can be marketed both as consumable good and as a contemplative and informed body of work. Paint just got interesting, in other words. Now to make so many jars of the stuff that Google images will be drowning in a sea of ground pigment and egg yolk.
If you would like to purchase any jars of paint, I sell on a made to order basis. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to get a quote or for more details.