Inside the cave – Revisiting the painting

Last week I was able to make a video render of the digital model from my landscape #13 piece. As a final touch, I added a soundtrack by Wagner called “Die Walküre”, I selected this musical background because I wanted to make a connection to a piece called “Der Riese”, a video made by artist Michael Klier. In this piece, Michael used the footage from an airport’s surveillance camera and by adding the sound, he created a narrative that was not meant to exist in the original material.

I am quite pleased with the end result. As a painter, it is quite interesting to me to be able to explore a piece from within and I feel this is really changing and expanding my approach to painting and sculpting and now I am trying to reflect on all the things I am subverting within my practice.

The active viewer

By escaping flatness, the image folds and grows on itself, so the gaze of the viewer is challenged by not being able to see everything from a set point of view, at this point, I am aware that not every viewer feels comfortable about this challenge but I also know that this opens a whole bunch of possibilities for the viewer to interact with the piece.

The evolving image

Painting sometimes becomes boring, I have to say that more than one time in the past, I have felt that the piece I was working on, became so familiar, that working on it was as enjoyable as brushing my teeth. Since I started working on 3D paintings, especially on the standalone ones, I feel that I am constantly challenged by them, not only from a technical point of view but also from a perceptual point of view, and I feel that, by not being able to see all the image at once, it keeps changing.

Shaping accident

Although I knew that using a sculpture as a canvas was a way to challenge my practice as I needed to constantly adapt due to changes in light and terrain, I was not able to imagine how the piece would actually look from within, I guess I was not aware of how it might actually mutate once I added the artificial lighting, changed the scale and added a floating point of view. Another thing I also discovered is that I could potentially intervene bot

Controlling the gaze

By using a camera that runs through a path, and then rendering a video, I am partially controlling the way the piece is looked at. Of course, one could argue that the viewer is now looking at a video rather than looking at a painting, however, I think that by being confronted with the physical sculpture, both elements become strongly bonded inside the viewer’s mind.

In the VR piece, more control is given to the viewer as he/her is able to move his/her head in any desired direction, however, I still have control over the path that the viewer is following.

Seeing with rhythm

For many years I wanted to add sound to my pieces, although I am not creating it at the moment, I am quite pleased to use this magnificent soundtrack, I believe that this adds a new layer to the piece and allows me to increase the dramatic effect obtained with the flashlight-like lighting.

Things to try in the future

  • Make an early 3D model or even playing with the concept of two different layers of paint, one will only be visible from within and the other one will be only visible from outside.
  • Create restricted access areas, forcing the viewer to look from a distance or even prevent him/her from seeing some parts from within or outside the piece.
  • Plan how the camera could potentially move following different paths.

Mind and body: The problem with perspective systems

The physicality of perspective systems

Just now I was reading a paper about the perspective systems in Ancient Chinese painting. At some point I thought that maybe this obsession we have towards creating a sophisticated system that could act as an objective recipient for the depiction of reality has a lot to do with how we interact with the physical world. I mean, both Euclidean and not Euclidean geometry have proven to be useful for the making of blueprints and even build or change the physical world, so why not try to keep using them in order to depict our experience of reality?

This is an Idea that has been around for thousands of years but history has shown that Artists, specially painters have always challenged it’s rules, and I think this has to do with the fact that in order to depict reality, we have to experience it and we do this with both our physical body and our minds. So, a system that favours our physical body over our minds is not efficient.

The convenience of the Flat canvas

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From the readings I made for my research paper, I now know that linear perspective was born as an objective system to depict reality on flat surfaces, according to history this started with mirrors and was reinforced by architecture and it is obvious that flat paintings fit easily on flat walls, of course there are examples of images that do not follow this rule, in some cases, architecture is setting the path and in others, images follow the functional or symbolic uses of the object.

When you think about canvases, sketchbooks, prints and photographs it is easy to think about the convenience of the flat image, it makes easy to present it, to store it and reproduce it, so it seems that this feature of the image prevails over the content of it. It is a condition that seems almost fundamental about image creation… but is it? or better yet, should it be?

What about painting? From my experience, is really confortable to paint over a flat canvas instead of doing it over a non-flat one, but the same true for medium size canvases if compared to big or really small ones, and that is not enough reason to prefer medium size canvases. Further more, although physical comfort might be a desirable thing to have when painting, it is not always the same for mental comfort.

Convenient entrapment

So apparently, the use of both perspective systems (specially linear) and flat surfaces is convenient for practical reasons, but it does come with a price, we are trying to depict reality using tools that privilege the physical side over the mental one.

 

 

Self-portrait#4 – Expanding the image

I Spent almost 3 weeks working really hard on this piece for the interim show, I have to say that I did learn a lot as I did try to push the limits of my technique, I feel that I really did sculpt this piece rather than just cut out pieces.

With this piece I want to push the limits of the flat image, expanding it and bending it to unleash its representative potential. Basically I am trying to create a self portrait that looks back creating a loop around the represented subject.

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Right now, I feel that I should do more pieces with subjects to find new ways to compose them inside the 3D space.

Mirror mirror on the… screen.

The last couple of weeks I have been thinking about mirrors and how they reflect reality, It came to my mind for two reasons: the first one is that my girlfriend is doing her MA research on mirrors in photography so I’ve been discussing this topic with her, the second reason is that on a trip to Barcelona I ended up having lunch in a special little restaurant with a really cool tiled wall and I took some interesting pictures of it.

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Thanks to this experiment, I’ve decided to simulate the same situation by creating a 3D object and using it to reflect a photograph, to be thankful, I decided to use my girlfriend as the model.

So far I’ve made 3 different prototypes:

-Simple object for reflection (to get familiar with the digital process).

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Reflection #1:

In this piece I was trying to understand how to simulate the physical reflection, the end result was a bit unexpected put it gave me elements to plan something more interesting, I would like to add that at the moment I have little control over the layout of the image and I’m not yet able to add more than one image. One interesting thing I’ve found is that I can use 3D digital object to actively interact with the image, it does not have to be a one way process like I have done in the past.

-Complex object for reflection

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Reflection #2:

Things got more interesting when i did this other piece, it reminded me of the work of Anne Spalter, an artist I saw on Lumen Price conference. At that time I was captivated by the possibilities of her video process. In this case, I think I found a different way to obtain the thing I found interesting in her work, but at the same time, I gained more perspective to move forward in my own direction.

-Complex object animated reflection

Thanks to the previous result, I wanted to take thing forward to see how this image reflection my work on a moving object, I was particularly interested in seeing the way transitions occur. This was a very simple animation to understand the process.

Reflection #3:

This was an interesting result, I would like to take some time to think about the out come, at the end I’m able to control the reflecting object but still not able to have a lot of control on the reflected image.
I will also like to think about how to explore video pieces because at the moment I am centered on 3D printing, eider way, I’m really happy about this experiment, I know that in the near future I will make more of this.

Final reflection:

Lately I have been looking at some of the work of Francis Bacon; the way he treats space, the way he molds the figures, the colors, the expressions on the brush… in a way, I feel I am dealing with some of the same questions he had in his mind.

Right now I’m focused on how to approach the boundaries between visual realism and abstraction and I feel that the mirrored image is an interesting asset in order to obtain some kind of appealing image that blends abstraction and visual realism in a flexible and captivating way.