Monday, July 19, 2010

Another 'Close' Encounter...

Another little twist to the representation of the ‘roadkill’ can subject/object matter today, coming about as a result of the habitual practice – which actually forms the very first part of the process after the finding & litter-picking of the objects themselves – of taking a copy of such, for reference purposes (although the actual physical objects now serve as the models for the drawings & watercolours of, the initial drawings in the ongoing series were made from reference to photocopies of the cans, a process that was, at that particular time, a continuation of the practice of drawing from photographic sources, dating from the beginning of 2008, rigorously adhered to throughout that year, as ‘The Project’, & following into 2009).
It had come to attention that such photographic copies of the objects took either of two distinct forms. Those cans scanned by the high-speed copier available for use at the source of the day job produced an overall sharply-defined representation, clear in all detail, whereas those examples scanned using the considerably more slowly-copying domestic hardware gave a much less fully-focussed result, sharp in parts but blurred in others.

It occurred that such home-copied representations bore a certain affinity to the appearance of the recently researched printed reproductions of the daguerreotype portraits & nudes of Chuck Close, which also display a combination of finely-defined & intensely-detailed areas (literally every pore is reproduced, in common with Close’s early Polaroid-sourced enlarged-scale monochrome ‘heads’ paintings) with others, immediately adjacent, of much softer focus, blurring from definition to the verge of abstraction, the result of the long exposure time of the daguerreotype process producing an extremely shallow depth of field, something shared by the nature & action of the scanner.

Thus the ‘referential’ inspiration to attempt to produce more deliberately artificial ‘apparent daguerreotypes’ of the roadkill cans (each of which have been represented previously in pencil & paint), setting a dark ground to replicate the velvety black ‘void’ in which Close’s portrait heads - & thus the objects - appear to float, desaturating the scanner software’s colour settings to the zero point of monochrome & then allowing the scanner to make its long exposure passage across the defined area (timed at a full 23 seconds at a resolution of 200dpi – compare such with the familiar split-second action of a camera shutter), thus representing those parts of the objects that come into direct contact with the screen in high definition & rich detail but those areas even millimetres away much less focussed, producing an intriguing formal dialogue & transformation of the representations of the objects into something ‘other’ & additional to the habitual process of the diptych drawings & watercolours, with, also, a little playful link to the history of art & photography.

Possibly a little sideline worth exploring further, given the choice of such appropriate objects as may be in the collection.

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