Asper(Sonchus), the prickly sow-thistle, in the dandelion tribe is native to Europe, North Africa, and western Asia and has become widespread on other continents. In Australia it is regarded as a noxious weed and it happens to grow rampantly in the artist’s back yard. The artist is currently using this flowering weed as a motif in an ongoing series of works investigating the nature and the process of picture making itself. Images have perhaps become like weeds in our culture, they are ubiquitous, and often unwanted and overlooked. What is the place for painting and analogue picture making in our culture?
Over a hundred years ago, Van gogh, influenced by Uykio’e prints, addressed seriality in painting, making multiple ‘copies’ of his own ‘genius’ sunflower paintings. In the 1960’s Warhol took this dialogue further with his infamous silk-screened flower ‘paintings’ based on a ‘found’ photographic image. He continued this critique with his “Do It Yourself (Flowers)” paintings based on amateur colour by number exercises. Warhol questioned notions of authorship, originality, reproduction, context, and temporality. His peer, Roy Lichtenstein, also extended this critique to encompass the authenticity of the indexical painterly gesture itself in his “Brushstrokes” paintings.
The Asper paintings are layered in the legacy of these artworks. They are inspired by personal experience, yet they are based on a creative commons image which has been manipulated and hybridized in Photoshop. It has then been manually redrawn, and projected and re-redrawn, overpainted and re-redrawn again and finally layered with its own palette and other painterly gestures including the artist’s signature. The paintings embrace the clichéd genre of flower painting and deliberately address issues of decoration and banality. However, more broadly they question the position and the process of the artist as an observer and mediator in our post-photographic age.
-by Chris Worlfold-