We live now in a digital age. Digital technology has changed and made more accessible information and communication. It has also changed our approaches and perspectives towards photography and the various processes we use to capture experience and beauty in our lives. It has changed photography just as photography itself changed painting before it. It has changed not only the way we use our equipment and the ways we view and treat photography as a medium, but also the way we as human beings remember and capture our memories. This is significant not simply because Jane Mom and Joe Dad are able to delete moments they don’t like, but because memory itself is the woven fabric of the human condition. “Huh?” you say. Well, consider, for instance, “who” you are without your memory, your personal history. If you change the way you approach memory – if you change your relationship to memories themselves – consider the effect that could have on your own self, and self-perception.
In a similar fashion, memory is central to art viewing. Art cannot affect a viewer without memory. Art itself cannot evolve without its own memory. The 'era' in art --if it can be called that-- in which we currently create is characterized, in fact, by it's frenetic referencing and sampling from our art history. In painting, and in art in general, there is always a thing that is there, a solid material object which cannot be changed. Through it we measure ourselves against something else that is not physically present, something that belongs to the immaterial world, to memory, and can only be thought, imagined, experienced. I am gripped by that experience and the invisible movement that art offers us: the flow of the gaze and breath, the journey of images filtering through memories and experiences—Leopold Maler’s “creative power of contemplation”.
Memory is operating in us at all times, and as a 'creator' painting is central to the way I interact with the objects and images I create. There are paintings everywhere I look in the world, and through the digital medium I feel that I am able to unlock pieces of that great expression. How then, I am frequently asked, can I call these paintings? How can they be paintings without paint? To me, the moments around us can be like paint from a tube, they can be mixed, and applied, molded to create a composition that reads as a painting—and affects its viewers in the same ways. I would challenge you to ask yourself: how do these pieces differ from paintings? How do the abstractions we read from in our every day lives differ from those we view in the gallery? I think perhaps only in the context itself, and the individual will to find communication in the languages of abstraction.
But what is it in the first place that ‘evokes’ through the abstraction of paint? What is left to us in a world of fallen orders and slipped meaning? We have scavenged, deconstructed, played with, meditated upon, and laughed at the unceasing collection of images we produce. There is no way to dispose of them; we seem only able to bring them in and out of the dialogue. Yet the one constant through the flow of images that represents our experience together is the very abstraction of experience, of memory; and thus, I’d suggest, we might as well appreciate its mysteries.
“Hope is nurtured every time something appears, a scattered, partial, initial hint of something which reminds me of what I long for, or which conveys a hint of it… Letting a thing come… no assertions, constructions, formulations, inventions, ideologies—in order to gain access to all that is genuine, richer, more alive: to what is beyond my understanding.” (G. Richter)
“As the hand held before the eye conceals the greatest mountain, so the little earthly life hides from the glance the enormous lights and mysteries of which the world is full, and he who can draw it away from before his eyes, as one draws away a hand, beholds the great shining of the inner worlds.” (R. Nachman)
"Memories may escape the action of the will, may sleep a long time, but when stirred by the right influence, though that influence be light as a shadow, they flash into full stature and life with everything in place" (J. Muir)