Friday, April 15, 2011


Anamorph from Tony Curran on Vimeo.

I'm experimenting with using anamorphic strategies for drawing portraits in the white cube.  The anamorphic techniques have been used since the Enlightenment but it's still a strange experience.  It's a technique that confuses perception researchers because the image doesn't exist on one surface and thus raises difficult questions about realism and distortion (Hyman, 2000. p27).  I've been looking for a way to develop a sense of perspectival dependency in the work at the end of the show that doesn't depend on technology which could break down, or cost more than I have for budget.  By perspectival depenency I'm refering to accounting for what the viewer sees in their particular space.  In doing so I'm looking into the pre-electronic modes of interactivity.  Currently Everything is completely electronic, but to extend the work beyond the internet and into a physical space in the white cube I'll need to rig up monitors, projectors and maybe sensors to detect where the viewer is and project what they are suposed to see.  Once I start thinking about monitors and cables my head starts to cramp up because of how unelegant artworks like that are, unless it visually consolidates some themes in the work.  If I can pull something DIY off and have it looking neat then that'll be much more enjoyable to look at.  There' pressure from arts institutions like Ozco to get good with electronics, and I'm always trying to fight that.

Some other strategies I've looked into are lenticular printing which would eat up my budget and give me enough space for a fraction of what my ambition is.  By experimenting with anamorphs I'm hoping I can direct viewers to see hidden surprises in the portrait.  Also the anamorph works for inconvenient surfaces to produce a flat image - which portraiture conventionally is.

Anamorph (study), 2011.  Charcoal on paper.

This is not a picture of anyone in particular, just a sketch of some head proportions so that I can make some decisions about how to proceed with this line of enquiry.  Mike Parr's early self portraiture is interesting for anamorphic stuff because he used to do endurance work locked to one area making self portraits.  Because he was fixed to a certain point his portraits were often distorted like this , because the drawing was consistent with his oblique perspective.  Others of his were mediated by flexible mirrors which he would use to deliberately distort.

Hyman, John. Pictorial Art and Visual Experience in British Journal of Aesthetics 40, no. 1 (2000): p27.

No comments: