The Set-up

Untitled, 2015

Untitled, 2015
Dan Parnell
Acrylic on Canvas Board

 

Untitled, 2015

Untitled, 2015
Dan Parnell
Acrylic on Canvas Board

 

L-R: Fake Blues, 2014; Blinding Light of Heaven, 2014; The Heart Knows Better, 2014

L-R: Fake Blues, 2014; Blinding Light of Heaven, 2014; The Heart Knows Better, 2014
Richard Guest
Digital Photography

 

In mid-July 2015, Dan Parnell and I exchanged the above works and challenged each other to change them, to turn them into something new. There were no rules as to how we would do this.

The process

Here’s a list of associations I made on first seeing Dan’s paintings: monochromatic, artist’s marks, suggestions of figure and landscape, monumentalism, rigidity, permanence, stone, carbon, earth tremors, St. Ives (Hepworth, Nicholson, Lanyon) and daylight on the coast. I think they also got slightly confused in my mind with a recent family trip to Rye and Hastings…the sum total of which meant something maritime was in the offing.

After photographing Dan’s paintings in the back garden, I worked on them in my usual way in Photoshop. So the physical paintings never changed (they are rather beautiful things and I’m glad they’re still around).

My current working method is to overload the picture plain with outside elements found and photographed in the street, (here: discarded carrier bags, spilt milk, cellophane wrapping, foil, paper takeaway bags, graffiti, scraped paintwork on the side of a van, cardboard packaging and a paper plate) and then gradually rearrange, delete and transform them until a new image forms.

To stop myself worrying about ruining Dan’s compositions, I added a layer of spilt milk to each of them, and ruined them. After that I felt much freer to add and subtract elements until the music started to play. I stopped once I felt I’d achieved a nice tension between the original image and the manipulations I’d made in response.

Here are a few shots of the intermediate stages of When The Boat Comes In I:

WTBCI 1a

WTBCI 1b

WTBCI 1c

WTBCI 1d

and II:

WTBCII 1a

WTBCII 1b

The final images are named after a popular BBC television series from the late 1970s. You can hear a glorious version of the theme song sung by Alex Glasgow here.

Reactions to Dan’s painting:

Bearing in mind we didn’t know what the other was doing there are a lot of parallels between Dan’s work and my own. The most obvious one is the maritime theme. Then there is the shared palette and the echoed shapes (the dinghy is very similar to the shape of the central bag in WTBCI I)…all very hive mind and a bit odd. Because I’m so familiar with the three images I gave Dan it was an odd sensation knowing that they lurked just below the surface – their meanings subsumed in his overall pattern.

I love the upbeat, anarchic image Dan has come up with – it’s a fascinating composition full of hot depths. And there has obviously been a violent struggle with the material – the imagery and colour remind me of Apocalypse Now. His paint marks and chemical attacks have smashed through the photographic images, lending them texture – simultaneously slowing them down and speeding them up. I liked the trace of his hand – lines I could never make, gestures I wouldn’t think of performing.

The use of (what I assume is), found imagery is interesting – it’s something I wouldn’t do at the moment. I used to do it a lot and this reminded me of the way it can open up an image to new associations. A nice bit of grit.

Final images

Launch time, 2015

Launch time, 2015
Parnell/ Guest
Acrylic and bleach on photographic prints

 

When The Boat Comes In (I), 2015

When The Boat Comes In (I), 2015
Guest/ Parnell
Acrylic on Canvas Board, Photography, Digital Manipulation

When The Boat Comes In (II), 2015

When The Boat Comes In (II), 2015
Guest/ Parnell
Acrylic on Canvas Board, Photography, Digital Manipulation

FIN

Advertisements