An earlier, more "abstract" version of this drawing.
MSPaintbrush, MSPaint (Windows 7), some lousy Photoshop brushes.
This started as a netbook drawing made in MSPaint7 while sitting in a Starbucks in Soho waiting for E.P.; I kept adding to it.
Put the word abstract in scare quotes because these brushes and textures are pure representation at this point. Someone's digital picture of what airbrush or crayon look like and how those behave on certain pictures of surfaces.
We could really use some more theory starting from where we left off with "the whole abstraction/representation thing" in painting (as one gallery art critic sneeringly put it near the end of that cycle) and what's been happening with revived abstract painting on phones, blogs, etc. People are drifting around without a rudder on a sea of these brainless tech-y symbols. We don't particularly need help from anyone who starts from the premise that painting is a culture of bourgeois decoration, so no thank you to some of the critics coming out of SAIC recently. Ry David Bradley, in an essay examining the role of novelty in contemporary art, finds a useful (as in problem-rich) model in three German painters (Polke, Oehlen, Berresheim) who collectively make a transition from paint to pixels:
Each uses painting as a method of creating an image to mimic or incorporate other more commercial or industrial methods as a way of critiquing them, even historicizing them – by orchestrating the clash so that each method of image creation plays off against its other, exposing novelty whilst espousing history. If anything changed at all between the works of these artists, it was not far from the model. Each remained broadly concerned with paint against industry, with the tradition of making pictures against the industrial way of making them.
MSPaint country, though, is a quagmire of irony, ignorance and misunderstanding. How much is real? A joke? Intentional ineptness? Kitsch? What is good: Tension? Contradiction? Using one program to investigate another? This leads to other clashes: Apple vs Windows, "old school" bitmap imagery vs FX bells and whistles, geeks vs Greeks. Do we need bridges from Polke, et al to people working with almost no reference to the showing physical objects in galleries? Are there any good reasons for continuing to refer to painted abstraction as opposed to "machine abstraction"?