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Rachel Wolfson's 'Material Paintings'Illustration // Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014
“I was drawn to characterizing the personal and physical nature of my obsolescent device – a MacBook acquired in 2008 – by generating hyper-observational 3D models of it. Often the software used to create these models overcorrects or misunderstands its source material. These models have a blank, dimensional form that is overlaid with parsed selections of photographic information known as texture maps.
Pulling these texture maps out of the software, I reinterpret them with a focus on the hand and process of painting as a means to counteract digital benign neglect. Although the computer can be unknowingly careless, painting is a traditional practice imbued with a sense of authenticity and autonomy. In philosophy this quality is described as the aura. The paintings are made in gouache on stretched paper and have a square format that references the customary dimensions of texture maps.
Each painting acts as an intervention outside of the computer – eventually returning to the software to replace the original photographic texture maps and coalesce over these 3D objects. The freshly textured form becomes a print of this painted yet digitally rendered still life. The print accompanies these painted works – its own materials for generation – as part of the installation.
While the render takes form as a print and is visible from only one perspective, as a digital file it exists in three dimensions. These texture maps contain photographic information for all possible perspectives of the 3D scene. In appropriating them, every potential viewpoint has been painted. Working both inside and outside of the software, the auratic labor of painting becomes an act of observance and intervention.” Rachel Wolfson