Stained paper, black glass, accidental residue after removal

Drawing using paper. Experimenting with materials and process.

To continue with the idea of experimenting with materials such that I treat them in ways other than their original primary purpose and to further explore shifts in how an object exits in one form yet the artist decides it should be eventually viewed in another. Thus here I have made a purposefully concrete object that is intended to be viewed as a photograph.

I began by taking several sheets of normal white paper (A2 in size) and coating them lightly with a light solution made from water and 20 tea bags (providing a dark rich tone). I built the coatings up slowly so that the paper would not become saturated and then placed a dry piece on top and then coated that piece and so on. There are 5 sheets in all. I used a powered adhesive that I mixed with water to act as the paste to attach my completed sheets to glass.

I placed books on top of the paper once it was stuck to the glass and left it for 24 hours so that there was a strong bond. I then began the process of simply tearing away the paper from the glass in short quick movements and also in longer more sustained efforts. I was doing this completely unconsciously and simply working with the material and responding when a piece wanted to come with my actions and leaving pieces where they didn't. I was not intending to create a design or to be left with any particular form. I was purely experimenting with the idea. My only deliberate intention was to leave an object that would exist as a photograph eventually.

The object itself took on a strange life as I knew its existence was in 3 dimensional space and that I was actively physically working upon it but it would exist for others in a different realm (the photograph). I have no profound understanding of what I find interesting about objects moving between realms such that they are experienced differently by the creator and the viewer but I do find that stimulating and it is a force at work in my thoughts currently.

Paper is traditionally used as the carrier for the artist's thoughts via marks of pen, pencil or brush. I was interested in making paper itself into a drawing or the method of marking another surface. I felt that by placing purely blank paper onto glass that I could transcend any idea of the collage process such that what was left was a pure idea of paper alone rather than any visual or written message it might carry. This piece is purely about paper and it becoming the line and form not about its normal function as the surface upon which other messages are carried.

I thought it interesting that paper was itself liberated to become its own artistic form but I equally thought it interesting to maintain the idea of paper such that I wasn't then left with a sculpture. This led me to photographing and maintaining the link with paper as the structure of the idea. The liberation of the paper would be championed by another form of paper (the photographic print) telling the story.

I think one is left with an image that feels archeological like a form found and placed under glass in a museum. It is hard to get away from the idea that paper is a messenger for other things so one imagines that this must have contained some sort of text that is now missing. The stain has introduced the historical note which again draws attention to the symbolic signifiers that our brains are acutely aware of and that an artist can use or subvert. My intention was to create a form that could exist in the way a sketch or painted work could but to use paper as the material. I think with modifications and differing methods / surfaces this could develop into a form of accidental drawing or abstract painting. For the future I like the idea of experimenting with white paper on black surfaces because of the strong historical link to black and white photography as well as to certain areas of painting.

 

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