Multiples

Painters in Venice, and other European tourist spots made a living selling canvases of views. Before cameras, this is what the traveller bought to remember and share what they had seen. Multiple paintings of the same view were made – because they sold. To say this, is no revelation: we live in an age of multiples, now cheap and plentiful.

Robert Raushenberg made what were called multiples. He would gather copies of photos, a number of canvases the same size, the same number of buckets of paint and go from canvas to canvas making the same motion, pasting the same image, screening the same textures in the same spot on each surface.

Even with silk screen printing, sometimes called Serigraphy, there is the touch of hands and the feel of the materials. Materials are consumed.

There was a degree of hands-on that has been replaced by machines in our time. Giclee is multiples manufactured on inkjet printers, hand-pulling and registration stripped away, hands and tools removed from the process.

Etching plates were scarred to prevent more runs. Screens were cleaned of images and reused. Photographers locked away negatives to prevent making more prints. Scarcity of the produced artifacts was enforced.

Now, David Hockney exhibits directly from iPad screens, the images available free and endlessly digitally reproducible.

Some textures, fields and scraps in the set of images I’ll post here over the next month were scanned from bits of paper and old marks made by hand. Many of the textures in this set of images: 20 Landscapes IV, were generated by making tracks in various of my iPad painting programs, simulated brushstrokes and water, virtual paper, textures and surfaces, and clips from digital images. The process is identical to the 3 previous 20 Landscapes’ series.

Just as the bits were ‘used up’ in making the ‘real’ collages, I will delete the texture files. They were created only for this project. Enforced scarcity. Because I am relatively unknown, there is that second enforced scarcity that makes The Cat Book valuable: acquaintance with the artist.

Some might argue that it is proper to delete the digital drawing files, to scar the original plates, so to speak. I can’t bring myself to do that. Besides, they are already loose on the net. Ubiquity destroys their original value. So there isn’t much point in my deleting my files. They are already valueless. And just too easy to store. Their only value is the artists reputation. The iPad that David Hockney used is worth more than mine.

So, I’m pondering the steps of how and why to make actual artifacts of these.

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