Saturday, August 28, 2010

Exhibiting Artist : Betsy Dadd

is a collation of several scenes, each depicting a person engaged in an activity set at a table. This stop frame animation is generated from oil painting on glass.

Painting on glass is an old and integral part of the material's history. This includes reverse painting techniques, oil, enamel and gold painting across European, Islamic and Asian cultures, in themes ranging from scenery to patterns to portraiture to story-telling. The vocabulary finds place in contemporary glass as well, with artists painstakingly airbrushing or hand-painting images of (often) personal narrative on vessel surfaces, sometime in several layers. Especially because of the invisible materiality of glass that holds no memory of its own. No matter what the outlet or form, it seems as though joy in the process lies in a basic movement - that of pushing pigment around. Playing with tactile color to form and erase lines, contours and densities. Yet the tenuous struggle between excitement and frustration, acumen and experiment, during this process is lost to the final outcome. A painted canvas reveals the artist's strokes and inclinations with a certain finality. It is static.

Dadd's video is beautiful in that it simply "un-freezes" the painted moment by bringing into view decisions of time, not just stroke. Glass, as a membrane that offers no texture of its own is the perfect substrate. The subjects in these paintings are formed, come in and out of focus, are pushed around as desired. They move and flow, meld and erase as the pigment slides on the smooth surface of glass. In a William Kentridge-esque manner of creating a figure in a story, without explosive narratives and complex agendas, Table inspires unadulterated joy of an image being formed and dissolved at front of our eyes.

While thematically centered around acts at a table, the animation is just as much about the materiality of glass as a membrane and process of mutating images on its surface.

No comments: