Digital Kintsugi

‘Androgynous No. 20’

‘Androgynous No. 19’
‘Androgynous No. 19’

A couple of recent paintings, Androgynous No. 19 & 20.  The gold, dabbed over the faces of the models is inspired by Kintsugi, the Japanese technique of repairing pottery with gold powder and lacquer (as describe in an earlier post).  The actual painting technique—rectangles applied with a flat brush—came from an idea I had in a design class back in the ’80s around the time of the Challenger disaster.  The assignment:  An analogous color study.

On tiny pieces of paper, I watered down my acrylic paints and rendered rectangles, transitioning from one hue to another.  Even back then, one couldn’t help but think of a digital future, such as the one Salvador Dali perhaps hinted at in Lincoln in Dalivision.  30 years later, I still find something compelling about that artistic sentiment.  Whether Dali was remotely interested in technology or was primarily concerned with achieving an illusion with a photo-mosaic, as things turned out, the world has become quite pixelated indeed.

Add a little humanity in the mix and our cyber experience of life might look a little more like a van Gogh painting with thick gooey brushstrokes.  I wonder if van Gogh, who was an avid fan of Japanese art knew about kintsugi.  No doubt, the golden years of expression came out of deep personal brokenness.

So there you have it—kintsugi, Lincoln in Dalivision and van Gogh—all swirling around in my head as I try to depict androgynous models and the fascinating things they tell us without ever saying a word.

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