Stack Overflow 23 October - 16 November 2013
ANDRE HEMER Artist Statement
'In computer science, a stack is a particular kind of collection in which the principal operations on the collection are the addition of an entity to the collection, known as push and removal of an entity, known as pop... If the stack is full and does not contain enough space to accept an entity to be pushed, the stack is then considered to be in an overflow state.'
As the title Stack Overflow suggests, the exhibition suggests a certain visual capacity- where repetitions and iterations of layers overflow and are pushed from one painting to another. In this sense, painting is always in a state of overflow- new and old elements are 'pushed' and 'popped' to reimagine the object.
These new paintings take the form of contemporary palimpsest. Like an ancient palimpsest, layers of image are 'overwritten' onto one another. Visually, each painting can be seen as a stack of gestures- sometimes minimal and sometimes complex, interweaving, or fragmented. These gestures act as layers of visual and physical artifact, akin to the layering systems of graphic software programs. Borrowing from such software, transformations are applied to these layers, which are then translated through a series of processes into painted objects. The act of erasure is undertaken through transformations such as deletion, virtual paint tools, and smudge.
Within the digital process the actions undertaken on image and layer are never fixed. The images function as 'smart objects' in which transformations and acts are able to go back and forth, undoing and redoing with no finite state. Through eventual translation into paint these works are set, recorded, and cast as a physical premise. This does not denote old technology/analogue - indeed no painting is analogue- paintings carry no signal; they are a record that has been realised.
It is impossible to be unconcerned about influence of the digital transaction in contemporary painting. This does not denote a simplified focus on the digital and its shortcomings, nor a division between digital and analogue. Painting is neither the fast-flip of the digital, nor does it carry the variable data of analogue signal. Painting is fixed as object- a remnant as palimpsest.
Like a palimpsest a painting conveys both individual and collective histories. It embeds within the layers of its making a trace of its own lineage. A pointer to things past and present. A painting is always slipping between modes and media, romanticism and spectacle. To paint is to actively negotiate and comment on the condition of the moment. Paintings, like smart objects, are inextricably linked to one another, they act as transitional modules within a larger network.
The potency of painting is its potential to establish and record new ways of seeing. Thus the paintings in Stack Overflow offer a new kind of representation - one that explores painting slipping between states of digital representation and painted object; one that nakedly exhibits a set of layers, images, and objects and the transactions between them. The distinction between real and virtual images seems to be disappearing - a virtual spray or paintbrush tool carries as much recognition as the tool it seeks to mimic. I want to paint within this new mode - setting all of these visual and procedural cues within the same object and asserting a new mode in painting.
Andre Hemer (b.1981 Queenstown, New Zealand) is currently based in Sydney, Australia. Recent and forthcoming exhibitions include Critical Intent (March 2014), curated by Gary Sangster and Fan Lin, Guangzhou Art Center, Guangzhou, China; LATM (solo screening, December 2013), Munchner Stadtmuseum, Munich, Germany; New Smart Objects (2013), Chalkhorse Gallery, Sydney, and CASS (2012), Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand. He has recently been selected for inclusion in '100 Painters of Tomorrow', a book and exhibition to be published in 2014 by Thames and Hudson, London in conjunction with the Institute of Contemporary Art, London.