In my work I have been exploring the concept of history and aging in a painting. With this current series, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, I am exploring these same themes and concepts and how they can be applied to an image in the digital realm.
I began with a picture of Pablo Picasso’s painting “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”. The idea was to create a painting that was “aged” digitally. By this I do not mean attempting to create what one would imagine a painting or object to look like after it has been aged over time. Rather, I mean aging as being the application of destructive forces to an object or image over and over again.
When an object is aged, it has been subjected to repetitive, minor destructive forces over an extended period of time; for example, the slow staining of a wall from drips or the rusting of a piece of metal. With a digital image, there are many “destructive” forces that can be applied to cause the image to lose information. With the first painting in the series, I shrank the image down to 1% of its size, and then blew it back up again. When this happens, the computer has to interpret what information to fill in the empty space created between pixels when it is blown back up again. In the other paintings in the series, I applied different ways of “aging” the image, causing the computer to have to make similar decisions.
Applying any of these destructive actions once or even a few times does not alter the image substantially. But when applied hundreds of times, the image loses more and more information to the point where it becomes virtually unrecognizable. Applying this digitally destructive force over and over again is the digital equivalent of an object that has been subjected to the elements over many years.
After the image was created in Photoshop, I painted it in oil on canvas roughly 8 feet square, the same size as the original Picasso painting. By repainting this “digitally” aged image, a strange alternate version of the painting is created. Rather than a painting that has been ripped, stained or discolored over time, the paintings are images that have been aged in the context of the digital realm.