Here below begins my contribution, as a painter, to a research project that’s exploring and defining what art is in the digital age.
The word reflection was put to us by Jonathan Kearney during the MAFine Art (Digital) first group chat yesterday:
I responded by saying that I see reflection as the bending back of something – which could perhaps be something as abstract as an idea which has been expressed in some form.
The story of Narcissus fascinated me early on but I also thought that surely his story was not just about vanity, I thought, there must be more to his myth than that?
Like most young people I used to look at myself in the mirror a lot though not just out of vanity – it actually seemed to me that the mirror represented much more than its reflective surface. The identity of the mirror is bound up in its physicality, its body, its corporeal being.
Mirrors reflect us/are a reflection of us, as corporeal beings. This is also true of Painting…
Ancient Chinese mirrors made of polished bronze:
Exhibit of ancient bronze mirrors, and its label, photo taken at The Forbidden City – Treasures from the Imperial Palace in Beijing (visited this Summer in Monaco).
Reflecting on painting:
A painting’s physicality is a vital part of it, the painting represents other than the illusion which its surface conjures. It is made of the material and immaterial, substance and thought held inseparably.
A consideration of the physicality of the painting is vital in clarifying the place of painting in this digital age.
Walt Whitman writes in his Song of Myself (section 33):
I help myself to material and immaterial,
No guard can shut me off, no law prevent me.
(a declaration of freedom)