After the perfect moment. (Absence as presence)
Instead of trying to capture in paint (or photographically) the perfect moment, the moment that satisfies all aesthetic demands and perfect narrative construction, look for the moment that comes just after or just before the perfect moment.
Like for example when confronted with some action scene coupled with a visually stunning background (for example a performance or dance at burning man) the eye waits for the action to unfold, lies in wait for moment that will most accurately represent the scene before our eyes. I look for the piece to take with me either as memory or physical recorded data.
What if I strove to portray the moment just prior or after the ‘perfect moment’ in a subtle way, not so the painting just looked ‘all wrong’ but so that it looks as though something is waiting to happen. Or retrograde anticipation, something has just happened but now that moment has passed.
A cyclist rides through the frame and is cut off, the body has landed and is dusting itself off and walking out of frame, the focus is wrong, the image is blurred, a cloud covers the sun, a car drives in front of the spectacular sunset just as you press ‘click’, the car itself is almost out of frame.
You can still ‘feel’ the perfect moment lurking out there in time, but you are not experiencing it.
The real question here is what exactly makes those moments perfect? It is our personal history and experience that crafts and shapes our idea of perfect. As well as the common external history. That of actual events in the world and our perception of those events.
Our understanding of any given ‘event’ is really a collection of other people’s versions sewn together. Photos, passages of text, verbal accounts, other interpretive works of art all contribute to the bank of information relating to any given event.
Did it really happen if no one saw it?
From a different perspective my ‘perfect moment’ may appear altogether ghastly or ill formed.
From 40 degrees to the left my picturesque moment in time seems not to have arrived yet, from 180 degrees to the left it is all reversed, from 90 to the right it is distorted.
We begin to talk about the 3 dimensionality of space and the disruption of aesthetic perfection. Try to convey this disruption or determined ‘missing of the moment’ in a 2D space.
The image I keep seeing is of the sun glowing through clouds of dust out in the desert at burning man, crowds of people in costume or naked swarming around, not any one person is the focus, and cyclist perhaps in the foreground cycles through the frame and is truncated. Large flat matt areas of beige paint articulate the pale dust clouds and surrounding mountains of the playa.
Somehow I should try to work on this notion using the contorted falling bodies (bodies contorted not by physical distortion but by arrangement of limbs in space and perspective.
Bodies falling in and out of the perfect moment.
I need to loosen up the paint, at the moment the work feels so utterly restricted by technique. I’m a little afraid to make the jump out of the perfect static rendering and into ‘sensation’, into a passing moment. Something more Bacon-esq.
How do our eyes track the movement of another body form, our eyes constantly remake the object or person according to a reasonable projected expectation. What happens when we slow this down. Typically in contemporary painting it looks like a blur or swish. (Bacon or gavin nolan) But when you think about it, that blur just looks like something a camera would do because camera doesn’t think, camera just opens and closes its shutter regardless. It doesn’t preempt continuity or conclusion of movement. Bodies themselves don’t really blur, our eyes or camera blur the event.
What dept if any does painting owe to the blur?