Reading Painting Through Camera Lucida Sean Ashton
During a visit to Caragh Thuring's studio I was fascinated by an object she asked me to hold as she manoeuvred a large painting into position for my appraisal. It was a piece of paper about five feet long and one foot wide on which had been stuck, in rows resembling hieroglyphs, numerous photographic oddments culled from various sources and annotated with pencil, paint etc. Not quite a study for a painting and not quite a sketchbook, but nevertheless an object in its own right, this ongoing visual almanac betrayed the strange sense of conquest entailed in the consumption of photographic imagery, and its regurgitation as painted imagery.
Of all visual artists, painters are by far the most prolific processors of visual data. This is due to the fact that not all imagery yields to painterly conquest; large quantities must therefore be consumed. In my experience, painters are more articulate about the individual elements that comprise a painting (i.e., where they have come from, how they have been altered, what else was considered and rejected) than about its overall effect, which appears to resist the painter"s verbal appraisal as a necessary condition of its completion. So it follows that one has a better chance of understanding the work if one approaches it from the specific rather than the general. Consider this anecdote from Nigel Cooke's article, "George Condo's Elite Pathology" (Turps Banana, Issue 2, June 2006):
On discussing a work of mine in progress, (Condo) insisted that a finished area was in fact far from it - it needed something extra. For Condo it would never really work without the addition of another object, and he returned to the subject now and then as the evening drew on, making suggestions one after another, hoping to offer me the right image. Later, as we parted company, he announced that he had exactly the right thing for me. The painting needed an owl in it - with an arrow piercing its eyeball.
Of course, not every painter's compulsions are as perverse as George Condo's. Hence, "Whilst the owl made it into the finished painting, the arrow didn"t": the painting could accommodate a nocturnal raptor, but not the recommended ocular violence.
This notion of a painting"s timbre being thrown off-key by the addition of a single element is one that painters are constantly wrestling with: a painting may begin as a set menu of compositional elements, only to substitute many items for others as an unforeseen pictorial substrate emerges during the painting process. There are painters who suppress this shift and there are painters who candidly draw attention to it. In Caragh Thuring's work, the set menu of elements with which she begins appears to create a timbre that is off-key from the outset, or harmonious as much by accident as by design - as though musicality were being sought rather than assertedRead the entire article hereSource: