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Warren Rosser – Unexpected Consequences
December 6, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - January 16, 2019 @ 7:00 pm
Unexpected Consequences, a solo exhibition of new paintings by former William T. Kemper Distinguished Professor of Painting Warren Rosser opens December 6 and runs through January 16 at Haw Contemporary Crossroads. Please join us for a reception at the gallery on Thursday, December 6 from 6-9 p.m.
Unexpected Consequences refers to the process of reacting to a particular set of circumstances. A year ago, my right hand needed surgery and I found myself unable to paint for a couple of months. I could still move a mouse, however, so painting software became an avenue for making, and for all the unexpected possibilities that ensued.
In contrast to digital processes, painting is a more tactile experience with many surface modulations. Paint has a certain resistance. It has to be manipulated, moved around and deposited on the linen surface, and there is a delay in the process. Paintings have many inconsistencies – flaws, so to speak – which for me actually help guide decision-making. There is more evidence of change, of excavation; the surface of the paint reflects the history of the making. Paintings have a slower read.
With digital painting, one does not have to wait for the paint to dry! There is a different speed of access – with very little surface modulation but a lot of close-up detail. I also found it curious that the digital image has no materiality. The inks are embedded in the paper support, as opposed to paint sitting on top of the stretched fabric. In experiencing the digital work, color is more of a primary factor. As with painting, there are layers of transparencies but the optics are different, and that is ultimately what I find so intriguing about this newfound way of working.
The digital images have their own distinctive presence. I do not see them as surrogates for the paintings but as a parallel studio practice that has its own unique origin and expands the conversation of my work. With a click of a button, digital tools offer me the almost magical capability for color inversion, for hue and saturation changes, for speed. But I also cherish the slow meditative action of physically mixing paint, of applying it to the surface of the canvas.
Despite the differences, both the paintings and digital images come into being through a meticulous process of making. Each still has to find its form, to be composed into some coherent set of relationships that can sustain the viewing experience.