Reality Stripes

acrylic on plywood, 240 x 240cm, 2015

‘Reality’, in the title of this painting, refers to its non-art origin: the two panels are the backing boards I use when I airbrush my tapes. The traces are the same as I create in my Trace paintings, but were never intended to be seen as such.

The schema is very simple: it’s my attempt to determine the two sets of colour primaries (CMY/RGB) plus the mid-colours. 

The idea of presenting the panels as a work really came from a conversation with the art advisor, Mark Hughes, during a visit out to the studio. He was taken by general impact of the work, coupled with the delicate layering of the traces along the bottom.

Using them in a show presented me with a nice way of illustrating the intentional fallacy. This is the idea that what the artist had in mind for the work is not necessarily contained in it. The work is the thing.

Reality Stripes is a particular iteration here, since the work changes as I continue to use the panels. I don’t always gang up the tapes in bulk as you see here, and the colours shift around as I continue to refine them.

Since the reality of the panels’ non-art purpose is part of the content of the ‘artwork’, I made the decision not to set them aside and specify it as completed. As well as nullifying the non-art purpose, this would have locked into the work the very intention I had intended to critique.

While internal inconsistency has its own point to make – Duchamp or Warhol would have smiled archly – I would’ve had to go out and buy some more panels.

Now, when I go to paint my tapes, I tie myself in knots thinking about how not to think about my intentions.

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