I’ve got a new animation in the works. This project is a little less ambitious than my last one, but I’m thinking of it as a way to re-acclimate myself to the animating process, and experiment with some new modes of thinking – like using text. (New to me at least.) Actually, I’ve always had an interest in text, but have always been very reluctant to bring it to my paintings. It’s always felt like I couldn’t divorce the meanings of words from their accepted definitions. Even though there are variables within those definitions, and the interpretation of words is what’s so interesting about language, it always felt like there was too much that was “definite” in a word. That it could easily pin a painting down. I think I have a similar feeling towards representational painting, where looking at images of painted objects can sometimes prevent you from looking at the painting. Although I do also like that illusionary quality of representational work. I recently found myself getting seduced by some Dutch flower paintings at the National Gallery in London and had to remind myself that it was just a painting. Perhaps, for me, the challenge of bringing text to a painting is to make it an abstract thing again. Or to know it, but let it be something else, like a mark. In a way that’s what I’m doing with the figure in my paintings, they are of a human nature but not particularly of the figure we know. I’ve had graffiti on my mind a lot lately, it’s a good example of text as an abstraction. Tags have this intention of making a mark, saying that the person who made this was there, but as a viewer, or the passer by, they are often undecipherable even when we’re able to recognize the letters and so it’s often reinterpreted as vandalism.
I don’t have any plans to start inserting text into my paintings yet, but the new animation does. We’ll see where that takes me.