Several classmates have suggested me to think about making my paintings not only on the wall, but hang them up or stand them as the screens. Those suggestions keep roaming in my mind, not only triggering me to think about the availability, but also to think about border of painting, and what the border means.
“Why do you paint?” This is a common question to all the painters. In the flexibility of contemporary arts, it seems a bit stubborn to merely work on painting within a surface. With awareness to that wide possibilities of arts, I think making a painting to be painting is already a manifesto, which is: “This art works by this surface, this crystallized process.” This ambition almost forms a context, inviting viewers to enter the work by entering the pictorial world.
Of course, lots of contemporary paintings develop beyond that purity, appropriating ready made objects; using materials with heavy texture; leaving painting from the wall, etc. When a painting tries to extend beyond the edges, it is also trying to challenge that ambition of focusing in pictorial world. Some artists challenge it more, some do less, but they almost form tension at the border of painting.
When I view back my paintings, sometimes I think they are “in Painting” so much. It is not necessarily bad to make a pure painting, in fact, it is enjoyable. However, for my topic, seeking liberation of sketchy lines and its closing linkage with mental image, maybe I should test a greater tension.
In Term 1, I have tried to change shape and chemical property of the canvas, and tried different drawing tools to improve intensity of lines and fluidity of practice process. The narrow shape of canvas changes the flow of seeing, testing “existence of painting” in the gaps among panels. But the narrowness also make me recognize more clearly that my painting is still enclosed in “Painting” too much, especially when I use oil paint, the slow medium, the collision and struggle among layers lead me to approach integrity of Painting, narrowing the possibilities,
Sometimes I think oil paint is really not an efficient material for contemporary exploration, it is too slow, and such slowness recalls too many silhouettes of masterpiece in our mind. I do not deny the integrity of painting, which is actually important, but for exploration, it is important to find some ways to ignore the integrity.
Wai Kit Chan (Hector)