Saturday, July 31, 2010


Back on the 'road', & featuring the processing of the latest 'roadkill' object to be found...

graphite, putty eraser, wax crayon & watercolour/30x20cm

In keeping with recent developments of the genre & project, the object is represented within a field of repeatedly overlayed short horizontal brushstrokes of watercolour (attempting to maintain a degree of the medium's inherent translucency - which affords visual access to the erased underdrawing, of which traces remain beneath - whilst constructing a surface of some 'solid' substantiality), with this 'all-over' 'ground'/surface subject to a sequence of complementary vertical 'bands' of subtle tonal modulations, highlighted & emphasized by the inclusion also of narrow 'structural' lines of yellow, all of which, whilst not as descriptive as the rendering of the object itself & intended to retain an individual identity & integrity as painted marks representing nothing so much as the act of their making, make formal reference to the familiar local tarmac road surfaces with their distinctive 'double black lines' corrective markings (all-but obliterating the originally-painted yellow lines, which nevertheless exhibit traces of their existence in such fashion).

The reformed object itself - the diagonals of which add to the overall geometrical nature & structure of the composition - in this particular instance furthers its consideration as an example of 'readymade Cubism' by displaying upon its surface a synecdochal fragment of a brand logo that rather serendipitously relates in terms of colour scheme to such visual reference as the fragment of the French tricolore that occurs within such an example of Cubist painting as Picasso's 'Souvenir du Havre' (in which the archetypal Cubist formal device of an explicit geometrical structure is also obviously in evidence)...

(image from Harrison, Frascina, Perry 'Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction' Yale/OU 1993)

Further to the play of art-historical reference in such a context, then the horizontal orientation of the red-white-blue bands of the fragment of the brand logo in relation to such tricolours as symbolic of nation states equates more closely in fact to the flag of the Netherlands, composed thus, which might then (if rather fancifully) evoke Dutch painting & specifically the glorious still life tradition thereof, particularly with such genre's tendency to feature the exquisite rendering of the surfaces of precious metals, which might find an ironic counterpoint in the represented reformed aluminium cans of the 'roadkill' subject/object matter, as debased contemporary currency, perhaps.
Within the very loose context of Dutch artists, albeit one of considerably later date to those of such a still life tradition, one might notice a certain coincidental (& highly generalized, given their respective emphases) 'Mondrianesque-ness' to the overall colour scheme of the 'roadkill' painting, with the primaries of red, blue & yellow combined with black, white & grey...

Yet another vague art-historical relation presented itself - wholly inadvertently & certainly unintentionally - when the painting was viewed & considered in a vertical orientation (being drawn & painted horizontally, which accords to the source of the subject & object matter, of course), during the digitizing process, upon the computer screen.
Observed thus, the represented 'roadkill' object appears somewhat as though suspended upon a 'string' of yellow line, not necessarily unlike the manner in which Sanchez Cotan (a master of the tradition of Spanish still life painting, which relates in significant dialogic form - at least historically - to that of the Dutch as mentioned above) arranged some of the objects that contribute to his strikingly specific compositions, habitually against the void of a black ground, as occurs with, from the left, both the quince & the cabbage to be found in the example illustrated below:

(image from Margit Rowell 'Objects of Desire: the Modern Still Life' MoMA/Hayward 1997)

Yet further to the general plot-thickening, one might recall that examples of quinces have occurred as the subject/object matter for still life compositional studies here at TOoT on occasions in the past (please refer to the October 2007 archive, in particular, for a selection of such)...

One way & another, through a mixture of loose design (from the habitual existing model) & pure fortuitous accident, it is sometimes possible to construct (albeit via something of a stream-of-consciousness associative thought-process) quite an apparently substantial frame of reference (however flimsy it may actually be!) to the results of the process of making art, which can make of such a rewarding experience when considered in its entirety.
As remarked upon previously, such is 'the life aesthetic' & the living of.


Test Match Special England v Pakistan
1st Test, days 2 & 3

Without things getting perhaps a little too ridiculously coincidental & cross-referential, & risking a point of critical mass being reached, a post-drawing-&-painting tuning-in to Five's televised highlights of the days' compellingly-unfolding cricket (as usual, expertly conveyed over the radio waves by the peerless TMS commentary team) revealed evidence, no less, of the Pepsi logo (for it is they, if names should be named) being sported in the guise of sponsorship on the shirts of the members of the Pakistani team...

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