Tim Barnes

Expanded Ideas in Painting

Observations surrounding Y, a painting by Alice Wilson as part of Still, an exhibition at Chelsea's old college library. – Curated by Laura Hensser, February 2012.

Y - Alice Wilson Y - Alice Wilson



Photography typically is a digital or chemical process, though this is not the case here, the process is not taking place in the camera or darkroom, the development is held rigorously in the artist's mind. This is evidenced in allowing the image to explode forth revealing a multitude of possibilities that a camera would not observe. The representation of the real is disseminated, its variance unfolding.

This deliberation of depth whilst pronouncing a presence of light is that of a painter's vocabulary. There is a clear reassessment of painterly mechanics and decision-making, observing both light and layering. As a viewer, I am caught within those layers, finding myself perceptively held between the screened surface and the image beyond. It seems there is a desire to project ones viewing position into the painting, into the space between these layers and this gap might highlight a slippage or distancing in our understanding of actuality or truth and what is perceived to be true. From this physically present but ultimately unattainable vantage point, one would receive the dubious photograph plainly and the subdued yellow would reveal its true colour. A purposeful proclamation of uncertainty is offered here by the screening that clouds our perception and obscures its penetration deeper.

It is a silent space between those layers. The setting of the old college library works in amplifying the silence in the engagement with this painting and the image then vibrates with continual pressure, inward.

The physical object is generated from rigorous observation and perhaps dissatisfaction towards the inert photograph, developing more fully a conceptual status in addressing spatial terms. For example, the use of the canvas stretcher as a frame foregrounds an arena or situation of thinking concerning the viewer, perhaps revealing an alternate frame of mind. The frames themselves work like windows. They present an opening into another space both physical and pictorial.

The colour 'Y' separated from its CMYK family might be a Mondrian like reduction towards an absolute, a component part for a proposed reality or strivings toward an absolute truth. This association is charged with contemporary methods of mechanical production and printing. It alludes back to a technical deconstruction and exhibits a further recognition of component elements coming together to form a dynamic whole.

Those component elements of the object, questioning the comprehension of the viewer, have all been blown apart for examination and consideration, yet remain savagely still.