Artist’s statement -
In recent years my paintings have been primarily involved with the act of painting itself. In particular, painting’s relationship to abstraction.
There is still a connection between Close-up’s of the horizon and much of my previous canvas-based works, in the application of predetermined grids or bands (letratone textures), that are employed by graphic designers and architects. These ‘textures’ are tools for visually constructing representations that reference actual existing spaces or environments, or for constructing graphic ‘models’ of proposed spaces and environments.
The use of the grid in painting within a modernist context has more than often been interpreted as having stood metaphorically for autonomy and self-referentiality and as such, understood as generally referring to or referencing nothing beyond itself.
With Grounded I do not wish to limit the readings of these grids/bands, or the employment of particular strategies to a discussion of autonomy, but to incorporate an element of referentiality which is produced not only at the time of the painting’s conception but at any point that the work is being viewed.
In the case of Grounded, photographic referents of the Te Tuhi gallery space became the starting point for the installation. These images were scanned, and various filters, offered by a standard Photoshop program for visually repairing, altering or editing photographic images, were applied. In this respect the computer is employed as a drawing tool.
Still using Photoshop the images were then enlarged to the extent that the overall image was reduced to an abstracted code of coloured pixels. In this case coloured grids of varying width and tone.
The resulting colour/tonal combinations and compositions were applied to the walls of the gallery without any further subjective intervention. Colours were manually matched by eye to the equivalent ready-made colour swatches provided on standard Dulux interior colour charts.
The viewer’s proximity to each or all of the paintings will determine how their relationship to the space is altered, both physically and psychologically. Because I am dispensing with the traditional frames associated with painting, a much stronger relationship between the painted image and the environment in which it is installed, is formed.
These wall paintings are not literal representations or recreations of architectural aspects of the space itself, but are simultaneously highlighting and denying architectural and spatial idiosyncrasies of the built environment itself.
A key element in this work is colour and its impact on the viewer both spatially and psychologically. As the colour combinations and composition create an optical effect, some colour combinations may appear to advance or recede. This may induce a sense of dislocation, a displacement whereby the paintings affirm the material nature of the wall and yet at times appear to deny its presence.
The colours may also operate on a symbolic or associative level. My intentions are twofold; to raise questions relating to modes of production, and the role of art and its connections to popular culture.
→ Leigh Martin: Close-ups of the Horizon #2, 2002, exhibition card