Beginning with and exploring the tropes of creative practices, each artist takes a unique approach toward contemporary painting as a means of commenting on process, training, and authorship.
In his ongoing series “Painting Palettes,” Conor Backman creates paintings that foreground the process of their making and examine both the illusionistic and material qualities of paint through the trope of the palette. Backman begins with photographs of loaded palettes used in previous works, meticulously rendering images of paint while mixing his pigments on the surface of the canvas itself, combining the perfunctory marks and represented images into singular, intuitive compositions. The finished works comprise two distinct elements – an image of a palette alongside an actual one – which, while having occurred simultaneously and from the same material, are nonetheless autonomous, neither any more or less “real” or than the other. With an effect not dissimilar to viewing a painting and its documentation concurrently, the final images are at once physical and flattened, abstracted and enhanced by the artist’s recursive methods of re-production.
For this show, Daignault invited artist Matthew Hansel to create a series of collaborative works that explore notions of quality, commerce, and training. For one of these collaborations, Daignault hired Hansel to recreate one of her paintings, and in turn, he hired her to recreate one of his. For another, they each copied one half of Rubens’ copy of Titian’s Fall of Man. Each work is a diptych, one piece by each artist, exploiting the idea of good and bad: Hansel, with a prestigious educational pedigree, is a perfect (re)creator, able to mirror the works and hand of the artist who hires him while Daignault is mostly self-taught, reveling in the humanist imperfections of both process and final product. By partnering with Hansel, who often works as a for-hire “ghost” painter, Daignault explores each side of the split taking place in painting today between mind and body, and between concept and action.
Siebren Versteeg further exploits the limits of painting by relinquishing control altogether, letting a generative algorithm take over. Here he employs his own “ghost”, the computer. The final compositions are the result of an ever-evolving set of algorithmic code. The paintings can pull from a dictionary, a Google ™ search or any set of parameters dictated by Versteeg. In this series the program searches for images and then has the “paint” react to the pictures, creating flat abstracts that are complete only when the artist stops the program and prints the final version. Further complicating preconceptions of painting, Versteeg presents Fake News: an en plein air work for our 24-hour news cycle’s perpetual state of amnesia. This computer program culls real-time news images to create infinite compositions that are displayed within an artifice of gallery documentation.
Backman, Daignault, and Versteeg engage in traditional painting tropes but use their varying processes to enlighten the dialogue of contemporary painting