Curated by Domenico de Clario for Mars Gallery, Melbourne 2017 as part of 'Weep for Painting'
I stood in front of a Van Gogh painting for what seemed a long time (Long Grass with Butterflies 1890, Vincent van Gogh at the National Portrait Gallery in 2015)
The paint, and colours drew my focus beyond the picture surface into a kind of revelatory moment and I sensed melancholy and vulnerability. Not sentimental melancholy rather a deep sadness underneath what the image and paint represented.
The effect of Vincents posthumous PR machine has not diminished that moment for me and I thought about ways of getting close to the feeling again while making ‘After Vincent’s Palette’ in response to a curatorial theme.
I searched for music performed at the same time and place where Vincent would have lived in 1890 and discovered a composition by Lizst that seemed contemporary. The piano piece has a beginning and middle but no end – it trails off mid sentence. The Van Gogh Museum states this was one of Vincent’s favourites. Lizst was sick towards the end of his traumatic life like Vincent.
As a starting point the piano composition prompted a rhythmic and synaesthetic response materialized through an animation made from dissolving colours ripped from online images of Vincent’s work then blown up in Photoshop. Like the relationship between pixels and particles – pixels being discreet elements while particles have no end – pixels are the material of light and colour parsed through digital interface and particles are holders of light captured on a photo sensitive surface.
I think about Vincent’s work like this – like particles of light next to discreet framed pixels standing in for a binary of joyous luscious colour and an application of paint that performs something darker and endless.