Painting Process as Narrative
My body of work created over the time of level 1 painting course is a narrative that reflects my visual end embodied journey of interacting with my subject matter. Through my profession in art therapy I became continuously interested in exploring different ways to express and present embodied mental images and sensations of personal encounters.
My project work shows a gradual development with an increasing awareness and mastery of painting and observation skills. The paintings show a progression from rather illusionary and observational painting through gestural handling of the materiality of the medium and experiencing an embodied and tactile painting sensation. It developed towards deeper interaction of paint and surfaces through texture, layers and collage and painting as a presentation of different realities. Eventually my painting approach moved towards semi-abstract paintings.
In the second half of the course I found my ‘breakthrough’ in discovering new aspects of self- portraits by fragmenting it into aspects of human sensations (‘Portrait Objects’). My personal parallel projects (daily self-portraits, daily sketchbook journey) helped me to sharpen my skills and to engage deeper with my subject matter.
I can discern the following steps in my painting journey leading towards my personal painting approach:
Step 1: Illusionary and observational painting
- Illusionary representational painting of still life (‘Pebbles‘) and (‘Still life‘)
- My personal encounter of myself through self-portraits (‘Self Portrait‘ and ‘in Pastel’ and ‘Split portrait‘)
Step 2: Gestural handling of the materiality of the medium and experiencing an embodied and tactile painting sensation
- Painting as tactile experience in paint (‘Interior Illumination‘) or (‘Painting evoking mood‘)
- My personal encounter as interface with my environment (‘Portrait objects‘)
- My environment as a reflective landscape (‘InsideOut‘) and sign of human presence/absence (‘My presence‘)
Step 3: Interaction of paint and surfaces through texture, layers and collage and painting as presentation of different realities
- Painting as textural expression of my mental images in my encounter with the world (‘Memories‘ and ‘Triptych‘)
- Exploration of realities of paint (‘Aerial Perspective’) and other pictorial realities through painting (‘A remove from the familiar‘and ‘Corroding away at the facade of the smile‘ )
Step 4: Semi-abstract paintings
- Abstraction as narrative and evoking mental images (‘Not wanting to go near itand ‘How little we need to build worlds‘ )
My exploration of areas that are traditionally considered beyond painting (e.g. print, photography) supported me to appropriate those techniques to exploit the versatility of painting and its capability to express various visual realities (e.g. ‘Monotypes‘). Overpaintings of phototransfers (e.g. ‘Overpainted photographic transfers‘) and embedding collage with oil painting are examples of my interrogation of the disruptive perception of an illusionistic representation of reality through assemblage, collage, layering and fragmentation.
My main personal themes that I explored during the course are: memories; human presence and absence; the sublime, the uncanny, and the un-homely. Here, I connected my profession with my art making activity, My personal project was informed by S. Freud’s theory of the unconsciousness and the human emotional responses. A theme informed further by modern and contemporary artists (B. Newman, C. Parker, R. Whiteread), visuals from expressionistic cinema (S. Eisenstein, R. Wiene, A. Tarkovsky) and modern writers (alienation effect by B. Brecht, F. Kafka).
With my rather gestural and expressive handling of paint I felt intrigued by the process of painting as such and am wondering how possibly I could address painting as process respectively painting as documentation in a more successful way.