18 x 24, oil on canvas, 2016
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Many of the paintings seen on this site have been created on top of older paintings. Some were my own, often demos for painting classes, others are done on found paintings. The reason for this is economic and practical rather than aesthetic. Economic because amateur paintings can be found at thrift stores for a fraction of the money it would cost to prepare your own, practical because starting a painting is easier when something is already there than on a blank canvas. When making a mark on an existing painting it becomes dynamic. The act of violating a painting by someone else creates a tension between two realities. Until this week I had never used a portrait painting by someone else. My intention was to maintain a lot of the original painting in my own. At the end only the eyes of the original remained visible. The following image shows the process. I started with pastels.
The finished painting is a portrait of Dick Higgins, part of my renewed interest of the sound recordings by artists from the Fluxus movement. This interest was raised by the exhibition Re:Sound, featuring the work of Philip Corner, at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery in Fort Myers, Florida. The Higgins song in this year's top 100 is In Memoriam from 1961. It's the second time the track is in the top 100, and thus my second painting of Higgins ten years after the first. In Memoriam is made available for anyone to listen to on the fantastic site UbuWeb. The following are the words introducing In Memoriam: "In Memoriam was made of assembling loops a dub a phonograph record of 16th century dance music. The dance is heard, simultaneously, up to sixteen times as fast and sixteen times as slow as the original, backwards as well as forward, giving a sort of cinematic effect."