|Photo by Paul Smith.|
|Painting by Clifford Still|
|My studio photograph, composed according to my memory (without consulting books or the web) of Clifford Still's painting.|
|The results of a Google image search for "peeling paint." There are many, many pages like this.|
Lately, I've been mulling over a typical approach some photographers take to abstraction: "My photo of peeling paint looks just like an abstract painting!" (My series Artist's Statements is on a related topic.) Judging by the quantity of this work I've seen over the years, these "instant paintings" must seem like miracles--at least to the photographers involved. I like how it's a little like a game of "telephone," the message becoming garbled as it's passed along. Something undeniable remains, yes, but I'm just as interested in the garbling, maybe more.My version of the Still (he was an American Abstract Expressionist) was made in my studio from a vague memory, photographing bits of string, tape and whatever was at hand to approximate Still's work. It's not really an homage to Still, exactly. It's an homage to all those photographers who take pictures of rusty old cars, walls of peeling paint, old barn doors, etc., and call them "my abstracts."
I have another related project in mind, and in a future post, I'll ask you, dear readers, for help and collaboration if you're willing. More in the next day or two.