3.18. Artist Statement November 2018

My exhibition piece was a performance which encapsulated my autumn practice so far and took it further. The performance began in the AV room, where an audience gathered. Dressed as a generic worker-figure in a boiler suit, I clumsily hung three abstract paintings on a white wall, switched the lights off, and left. After I left, an animation was projected onto the paintings, creating the effect of three glowing orbs dancing around the paintings and occasionally landing on them. This was accompanied by an abstract yet rhythmic soundtrack. The animation ended with all three orbs exploding into nothingness and the lights coming back on, revealing a white-cube style gallery with three paintings on the wall. I returned to the room, this time dressed as a museum guard. The piece operates as a performance, but the end result is an installation. The animation was created using a combination of PowerPoint and iMovie, and the paintings were acrylic on canvas.

The starting point and chief inspiration for this project was the motions found in nature. There is a sense of awe I get when I watch birds flying, and it inspired the idea to re-create this gracefulness, beauty and skill using projections. The nature of projections is that they are weightless and ethereal, which lead me to make the link between birds and the projection of lights. These ideas also inspired the paintings I was creating at the time, leading me to combine the two practices. This made me re-imagine how paintings can be displayed; I began to see them as a background onto which I could project another dimension of abstraction. I began to develop my practice, adding more elements as I progressed (such as sound and phosphorescent paint) as a way of experimentation. For the exhibition piece, I wanted to expand these ideas into an event, to give the work more impact. I thought about how to expand on the idea of deconstructing painting and decided to use the animation to subvert the typical presentation of paintings in white-cube style galleries. By giving turning the paintings into an immersive event using the animation, I aimed to draw a duality between the animation event and the paintings by themselves.

My research has consisted of primary research, including photographs and videos of birds flying, and secondary research, chiefly researching artists. I have studied the work of Studio Drift, a Dutch artist collective, because just like myself, they reflect nature in their work. I gravitate towards their practice because they do not try to copy nature, or represent it realistically, but instead create pieces that conjure the same sense of awe we get when we experience it. This factor is inspiring and extremely important to me, because to attempt to copy nature is futile and impossible in my opinion, and I believe the abstract ideas are much more important than material details.


Published by William Fowler

I'm studying Art and English Literature at the University of Reading. My work includes painting, drawing, installation, film, performance, writing, and music. My main influences are surrealism, psychedelia, philosophy, literature, op art, and Arte Povera.

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