For his third solo exhibition at Kate MacGarry, Luke Rudolf presents a new series of paintings which juggle digital and traditional mark-making to create enigmatic figures entangled in a kinetic matrix of lines and planes.
The thick layers of paint, characteristic of his previous work, have lifted to reveal a background field of digital print on canvas. Rudolf uses textures created for use in computer games rendering, setting the stage for a joyous ensemble of lines, stencils, and splashes which extend his investigation into the limits of painting’s legibility. These grounds are deliberately distorted, pixelated or blurred, throwing the intricate contortions of the hand drawn lines into sharp relief. By doing so Rudolf brings the digital depth of field into the open, conceding that the screen has become the primary context of contemporary painting.
Although there is a menu of recognisably modernist elements in these paintings, Rudolf’s process is not reductive but additive. Each line, plane and segment is sequentially layered on the computer until the painting is poised between legibility and formlessness. The process is analogous to ‘glitch’ music in which recognisable samples are layered one-by-one into a rich aural patchwork of ordered chaos. One of the most striking elements is the playful line, drawn in Photoshop before being painted onto the canvas. These digital objects in physical form work to slow the eye, accustomed to todays rapid consumption of images. The juxtaposition of crisp and indistinct elements casts the spectator as a broken viewfinder struggling to resolve the focus. From afar, we face a Rorschach test of figurative elements, some more recognisable than others: cartoonish expressions, undulating forms, tangled bodies and floating limbs. Moving closer, we notice that analogue paint marks are posing as pixels and in turn digital print is simulating paint.
Rudolf revels in the breadth of processes made available by print technologies as well as the freedom of traditional methods to test the limits and possibilities of contemporary painting in a digital age.