3: Drawing of a Photograph of a Wet Painting As Wood

This is one of my favorite pieces, but even after all this talking it may be that it is such because its a very inside joke.

DOWP as Wood BIG

11″ x 24″ Graphite, ink and acrylic on paper.

(The piece is too large to fit on your screen easily, so a larger version can be found at the end of the post.)

This work continues the basic theme of the last post in that it faithfully represents an abstract image.

The difference is: this piece incorporates Symbolism. Symbolism is a different form of representation in fiction and art. In art you might represent a fish realistically, but that fish itself represents Jesus, often as a narrative device.

In short, one thing represents another.

This pertains directly to the issues that led to this whole series of work. Photography was necessary to represent the original painting in the form I wanted. The last drawing attempted to accurately portray that photograph, but still just stands in for the original. It is one thing standing in for another, a non-narrative form of symbolism.

In this piece the symbolism is intentionally absurd. All other forms of representation and symbolism are also absurd, we just accept it because we understand the ties between the various parts. The fish = Jesus because one of his miracles involved fish. That doesn’t make it less absurd, I just took out the middle man.

I used wood floorboards to symbolize color and value in this piece. Based upon the previous drawing I cataloged the different blues and their depth of value and hue. I then represented each as a different direction of wood paneling, with the density of grain marks representing the value. The raw canvas in the photograph is represented as parquet flooring.

I found this whole thing to be hilarious enough to spend 3 months squiggling in the floorboard lines for this. I then turned the composition sideways, as an homage to Asian Landscape paintings.

If you’re scoring at home, the forms in this accurately portray the photograph and the floorboards are themselves realistically represented. However I am then using completely irrelevant objects to represent purely aesthetic elements rather than a narrative. The aesthetic parts (color and value) are replaced by something entirely unrelated. Then I turned the entire composition on its side to reference a completely unrelated genre of art and new colors are added. The piece engages the idea of representation by attempting to systematically dismantle the entire concept.

It makes no sense at all. Each decision was made with very conscious awareness that each layer would make it make less sense. It’s the most conceptual work I’ve ever done, yet that aspect is virtually opaque to any viewer. And this is why I love it. Aside from execution, reception or any other factor, it is an elaborate, labor-intensive inside joke I played on myself.

Below is a high-res version for detail.

-JD

DOWP as Wood BIG

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