As a new generation of artists attempts to make sense of their experiences growing up in the Internet era, screen aesthetics have permeated the visual language of ultra-contemporary painting. Embracing digital forms and translating them from screen to canvas, how can painters challenge us to contemplate the contemporary condition? What can painting specifically disclose about the online vernacular and the manner in which it has impacted our perception?
The screen flattens our vision of an image, restricting it to a specific dimension. Surface density, scale, and the viewer’s relational position comprise a painting’s aura, its materiality. By incorporating digital forms into painting, the composition of digital interfaces can be emphasised and called into question. Furthermore, the still, singular reality of a painting facilitates contemplation, and the opportunity to spend time looking. This makes the experience of viewing a painting IRL at odds with the action of endlessly scrolling through a feed of images online.
Visual trickery is a tongue-in-cheek element often applied in the paintings of Laura Owens (b. 1970, Euclid, OH). Copying and pasting kitsch tropes, Owens embodies the Postmodern turn towards the reproduction and remediation of images. Drawing influence from digital drawing software in the formalism of her painting, Owens’ practice has inadvertently expanded the parameters of painting’s potentiality. Using painting and silkscreen printing to incorporate screen-based motifs like drop shadows, digital brushstrokes, and grids, Owens creates intricately layered compositions that reference the compression of spatial proportions.