It has been my lifelong habit to imaginatively reduce the creation to ur-categories - that which naturally occurs and that which is man-made.
Artworks are man-made objects that historically aspired to the look of naturally occurring things. And although mimesis (imitation of nature) is no longer the exclusive aim of artworks, objects continue to be forwarded by artists, and received by the public, as tangible incarnations of (intangible) natural forces. Forces majueure, such as introspection & speculation.
Man-made things are inherently ‘dumb’ and inanimate. Yet artists labor to make things that speak and, in so doing, move the viewer.
Great artworks that somehow manage to speak compellingly (to their time and beyond) are linguistically apotheosized as moving and ‘immortal’.
Painter Speaks, as a project, settles for a more modest and mortal (secular) level of ambition. These paintings’ potential for movement, if any, could be fairly characterized as suggesting a sort of painterly (hall of mirrors) infinite-regress.
The project relies (obviously) on a consciously redundant correlation of stylized landscape (painting as imitation of nature) and stylized portraiture (painting as imitation of life).
The portraits, in these cases, are painted transcription of a sculpturally simulated wooden ‘human-like’ ventriloquist’s-head. A head traditionally fashioned to slavishly entertain and articulate its author’s delegated voice.
Opens at Suite Gallery, Wellington on 22 September 2011.