The Painting as Object
In photographing a painting, I take care to preserve the shadows on the wall cast by the painting, both to emphasize the painting’s depth and its status as an object – an imperfect object that can only suggest rectilinear perfection, and an object that I hope will have other attributes warranting contemplation. As I have mentioned, art viewers of course bring their own perspectives and experiences to each work of art they see, and I have always liked the idea of “entering” a painting, entering and even temporarily “inhabiting” a painting’s mysterious abstract world. When I was a child, I would look at the more or less random patterns of the wallpaper in my bedroom, my mind turning round and round as it quite naturally tried to make sense of them, to impose an order on them, to create a world from them. A few years ago, I saw a wonderful TV commercial for a car – I don’t remember the model. In the advertisement, people viewing an abstract painting, a painting with dramatic textures and curving strokes of paint across the canvas, were suddenly transported into the painting, driving up and down all the hills and valleys and pathways in this marvelous world, all of course in the car being advertised. What a fantastic way to regard this expressionistic abstract painting! And, one mustn’t forget all the paintings and drawings Mary Poppins’ charges entered to find great adventure – keeping in mind one can enter an abstract painting just as well as a representational one.
All images and texts Copyright © 2005-2018 by Stephen Lowell Swanberg