'Fix it in post', cyanotype on found oil painting, GM Thomas 2012
So towards the end of last year there was an opportunity to rent a gallery space that was recently vacated by the owner. With our final graduate project being due fairly soon for some reason myself and two other art students thought it would be a ‘good idea’ to distract ourselves by holding a show that didn’t have anything to do with our final school work. It actually kind of was a good idea because it proved we could organise and put up a show in a couple of days and was kind of a good stress reliever to focus on after being so consumed in our year long final project.
Anyway, my work for it was based on some found paintings a graduate from the year before didn’t want anymore. After gaining her permission I set about re-using them with a photographic process. Earlier in the year I had seen a website dedicated to Victorian death photography (if you’re not familiar for a brief period in the late 1800s people would photograph their dead family members but posed as if they were alive, held up by stands, pupils painted onto their eyes or hands sewn to their clothes to make them look alive and well). I sanded back the paintings surface (they were oil paintings) so the cyanotype chemicals would take to the surface (they didn’t really and I basically had to floor them with it) and once dry, exposed them to UV light using digitally created mylar negatives made from the photos. I was aiming to get a creepy and dark comedic feel to the end work. Some worked a lot better than others, and even managed to sell one(!).
I was also referencing the mediums of painting and photography and their relationship to each other (the famous ‘from now on, painting is dead..’ quote) as well as their history of memento mori and depicting the deceased.