Art as Transformer
What are the relationships between the photographic image, painting and mediation?
This extended essay explores participatory relationships relating to the photographic, painting and our mediation with these images. Since the year 2000 to 2017, the exponential growth in mobile devices has enabled a greater connectivity to the Inter-web, enabling the uploading of individual daily experiences, via social networks, instantaneously sharing digitised images with families, friends and strangers around the world.
Although some research explores the impact of social networks on the psychology of users, contributions have generally been beneficial and positive, particularly with social activist movements leading to greater democracy. However, as with all new technologies, we must be cautious about how our psychology is affected and the possible detrimental effects these platforms might have on our identity and social interactions, as well as controlling types of information.
We must be vigilant and cautious due to photographic images becoming easier to
manipulate. Editorially manipulated collages that form corporationist ideologies that could seek to control ways we interpret our view of the world. One can become easily enraptured with these new forms of photo-paintings pervading the virtual world, especially during this so-called fake news era.
It is also concerning how information can be directed via algorithms, creating individualised feedback loops of implantable desires and appetites, reducing access to new information vital for a balanced mind, society and democracy.
[The 80 page book Art as Transformer will be released as a published paperback book and as a Kindle download from Amazon this month circa 26th May 2017]
During my time travelling in and around Cyprus and Spain I had begun to become increasingly aware of the many synchronisations which seemed to appear in these places. In such circumstances it appeared that whatever I had been thinking about during the week or a couple of days before, the object of these thoughts would materialise in some form, presenting an uncanny reality that either a) I was synced into some process of reality which was presenting something for me to take note, or b) it was all by strange chance.
Now, I know what some might think – however, as a scientifically-minded person I default to the avenue of ‘chance occurrences’ and that the only possible explanation is somehow, unconsciously, my thought process was already aware of something I was seeking, from the peripherals of memory, and over a given period of time it played itself out, until I became conscious of that reality through the presentation of the particular information, image, person or object. I equate this to the phenomenon that sometimes, after not seeing a particular object for a while, for example a type of car; i.e. Morris Minor, suddenly we see one and then we begin to notice more. For me this reveals a power of the mind in which our focus, whatever it be, is determined upon the reality we choose to be part of and incorporate into our day to day moments.
Two situations came to me during my travels through Spain:
1) Fluxus, an art movement which sought to break from the elite control of the art market, presented itself in two instances. Upon reflection I now realise it has followed ever since this art movement was presented to me from the artist and Senior Lecturer at Falmouth University, Gillian Wylde. When visiting the El Greco museum in Toledo, I happened to ‘get lost’ and come across the Synagog. I decided to take a look inside and there before me was the painting Shoah by Wolf Vostell. He is considered a pioneer of ‘Happenings and Fluxus’. Later, upon arriving in Bilbao, unknown to me before arriving, I happen to see a retrospective show was on at the Guggienheim of Yoko Ono’s work, who is also considered a leading member of Fluxus. Coincidence for sure – yet, at this time, I noted the message my mind was deciphering from this experience – ‘take note of Fluxus’.
2) During my time in Cyprus I had happened to come across the British Zen Philosopher Alan Watts on You Tube. Every now and then in the evening I would listen to some of his lectures, as I found these interesting, enlightening and full of humour. Later, during my travels in Spain I found myself being presented to artists, unknowingly, who had been influenced by Japanese Zen art and applying the principles to their practice. I came across Fernando Zobel (a retrospective book I pulled from La Fragua’s Library), Antonio Tápies, at the foundation in Barcelona and Eduardo Chillida, who I came across with Tápies and Zobel again in Bilbao at the exhibition on Japanese Art & Zen at the Museo Bellas de Artes and who also has a wide collection of contemporary art in the last gallery – an amazing space.
I mention these experiences purely because of the coincidence in coming across these artists, and that even though I am aware of their work and seen them over the years, I had not gone out of my way to see them in Spain, consciously. In some way, through subtle resonances to my past, it felt I had begun this pilgrimage through Spain because I needed to ‘see’. In a strange way it is though eventually we become aware of our inner-mind/ self/ being, and what it will make us aware of, once we stop and listen. For me, the multi-layered images I have been producing are symbolic of the multi-layered images of thought, held in the mind for years, and over time, as we allow ourselves to open up to the creative mind, fully, we are drawn on journeys into a multi-layered reality of the mind-set and we unknowingly follow a path we have already mapped out years before. The mass of similar events, together in our mind, overlapping to be played out in some future time.
Through these experiences I am becoming more aware how my mind relates and interprets my reality around me. Creating forms of drawing which explores and resonates the multi-layered reality of our world. Now, through practice-based research and the Art of Zen, I am beginning to see where the application of these ‘events’ I have been creating over the years is leading me. No refinement, no erasing, no habitual changes. Pure flow in the production of a mark on the surface – pure light vibrational energy – from sight to transference into a mark; one sweep of my arm, hand and tool upon a surface – producing an immediate response to a fleeting experience, recorded as a moment in time which has passed as quickly as it had appeared. An ephemeral, transient reality, suspended thought as a mark, a line, a dot, itself affected by the passage of time.