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the kickstart building
new york, ny
what is a painting? color arranged on a two-dimensional plane? what if the color is moving, is it still a painting? is a static video projection a painting? i think few of us would argue that a movie is a painting – it’s a movie. if we imagine a tree, what’s the first image that comes into our heads? for me, it’s a brown trunk and branches with green leaves on them. but the leaves change, and they fall off, and we don’t think “oh, the tree has scattered into bits” or “it’s not a tree anymore because the leaves are gone,” we accept that a tree is constantly changing – in the wind, in the ever-shifting daylight, in its growth, and seasonally. there is a story that monet got upset at the sunlight moving so quickly as he painted the cathedral at notre dame. i wanted to capture that feeling, which is one of the essences of painting from life – everything looks different all the time.
the recent focus of my work is to use technology to create paintings that move – to infuse paintings with time, and to create images and colors which would have been impossible to create for prior generations. i believe that “autumn leaves” is a painting.
during october 2006 i visited metuchen, new jersey, and set up a video camera on a tripod; next to that, an easel. i looked into the viewfinder of the camera and roughly gauged where one-eighth of that image would begin and end. then, looking into the landscape, i proceeded to paint eight oil paintings in turn. these were then attached together to form one large oil painting, one coherent landscape. i put the first ten seconds of every tenth minute of the twenty-four hours of video footage into a constantly-shifting montage which shows the progression of the sun (and the leaves turning) (and the traffic) over the period of time i spent painting. the video is arranged into a grid of eight portions, matching up with each painting.
i used to live down the street from the vassiltsov’s, so the scene is a familiar one to me. in my yard i had planted several tea bushes. prior to moving into new york city, joann transplanted them into her yard. three of those have survived, and they appear in the lower portion of the painting. the green trees on the left stubbornly refused to transform during the two weekends i spent at the vassiltsov’s; eventually they became gold, but i didn’t feel comfortable adding video shot post-painting.