Signal To Noise
These are landscape paintings, the landscape in question being the contemporary urban one, and its media manifestations in both image and text. The landscapes focused on are zones blighted by conflict, blunt trauma and capricious climate, and our bodily vulnerability in the face of these situations.
The initial newspaper image is processed in Photoshop to strip it back and break it down into heavily dropped out graphic areas of light and dark, which in some cases is montaged with other images to achieve a certain kind of density that doesn't reveal itself on first viewing. Some image treatments push it to the cusp between abstraction and figuration. I'm intrigued by the way the eye will seek to make sense of seemingly random marks.
The paint application is deliberately thick and crusty in some of them to emphasis a sense of physicality to the image - the dark areas look like pools of oil or deposits of tar, running in rivulets around the surface. Some paintings use a montage of newspapers pasted in layers and then stripped back unevenly to reveal some layers, somewhat like billboard sites where posters have been ripped off. This is then varnished, and a detail of an area is considerably enlarged and processed and projected and drawn onto the newspaper montage, and then painted. Again, a density of image through layering.
My initial thematic focus was quite broad; some paintings are international, some a mixture of local/international and some use local media images and text. In two paintings my focus narrowed down to the landscape of contemporary Dublin (see Signal To Noise VIII & IX). There are certain salient images that crop up repeatedly in the paper that sum up an aspect of the Dublin landscape in relation to drug-related crime and reckless driving - court report photos of cuffed figures with hands/hood/newspaper over face to conceal identity, white-suited forensic teams taking a body out of a suburban house, a Ballardian storyboard of crashed cars and fatalities... they take on iconic qualities, visual indices of a culture at a certain period in its history. I see my paintings as a kind of barometer of this aspect of the culture.
Signal To Noise XIV - XXI cross-hatch images from riots, suicide bombings and sea-bound refugees.
This is what defines our landscape, what we are surrounded by. There’s no escaping it. I like the idea that landscape painting as a tradition is one of the oldest forms of art making, but can be bang up to date and relevant depending on how you approach it. The title is a media reference in relation to broadcasting, to do with the ratio of picture/audio to interference, which, in the case of the paintings, relates to the push and pull between abstraction and figuration.
All paintings are acrylic on board, except XV - XX, which are acrylic on canvas.
Signal To Noise I & II are approx. 2' 6” X 3'6”
Signal To Noise III - V & VIII & IX are approx. 30” X 24”
Signal To Noise VI & VII are approx. 24" X 30"
Signal To Noise XIV is approx. 22.5" X 15.75"
Signal To Noise XV - XX are approx. 10" X 12"
Signal To Noise XXI is approx. 46" X 33"
Signal To Noise I
Signal To Noise V
Signal To Noise VI
Signal To Noise VII
Signal To Noise VIII
Signal To Noise X
Signal To Noise XI
Signal To Noise XII