Hanging Out to Dry is a new installation by Paul Schneider that inhabits the whole of Café 171, comprising several large hanging works and a wall-size vinyl backdrop. The printed lino hanging works are enlarged graphic representations of clothing items – including jeans, a t-shirt and a vest – which have been ‘draped’ over the rafters that cut across the space. The vinyl pattern backdrop is titled Wet Blue Rectangles. As the viewer walks through the space, these individual graphic components layer up to comprise an overall image of a domestic washing line caught in the rain.
The use of clothing imagery continues the artists’ interest into how a staple object can be simplified to its most minimal representation through a graphic image. Schneider questions whether such a motif can still convey the associated cultural and contextual significance of the original object. The white t-shirt icon is exemplary of this. This simple line drawing is universally recognised as denoting clothing and is inextricable from its associations with the US Navy standard issue, James Dean’s Rebel Without A Cause, the Classic. This is particularly pertinent now with the growing popularity of ‘emoji’ communication, where stock imagery becomes increasingly commonplace as a substitute for written text.
The breakdown of a single scene into layers references the traditional cell animation process of drawing cartoons. It is the act of rendering this layering process visible that interests the artist. His playful intervention enables the viewer to move between the different layers and to view them as individual fragments. Schneider described this process as being like ‘walking through a cartoon’.
Schneider’s practice explores pre-existing images and familiar languages of efficient communication. Through continuous changes and translations in different materials, forms and scales; works move from images to objects, objects to images, posters to books, from vinyl stickers to photocopies, rooms are treated like folded pieces of paper. The graphic, the sign and the expedient becomes a vocabulary and a subject matter.