Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ken Weathersby On Effect vs. Actual

Effects in painting like unexpected luminescence, twinkling or sparkling, floating after-images or apparent movement, can powerfully, if subliminally, evoke the uncanny or magical. When such seemingly hallucinatory optical phenomena are confronted with presentations of a painting’s physicality (physical inertness [mortality, contingency]) by reversing the canvas, cutting pieces of it out, embedding other surfaces within it, or otherwise making its constructedness and limitation transparent, this visual enchantment effect is challenged by its obvious inseparability from the banality of cotton duck, wood, and paint. Knowledge of the neutrality of means contests aroused hopes of a magical, supernatural dimension.

On the other hand, the emergence of trippy color experience from a demystified, actual physical object might reassuringly remind us how the fantastic pleasures of non-physical movement and frictionless disoriented color effects can still be available in an ordinary waking state (without chemical assistance and without prolonged meditation, fasting or sleep deprivation).

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