Night is an installation consisting of 42 oil paintings hung in a grid. The paintings depict the periodic illuminations of imagery as seen through a train window, and are an attempt to capture the passing, mutable nighttime landscape. The imagery blurs and then refocuses throughout the series, mimicking the effects of acceleration and deceleration experienced during a long journey in a train.
These paintings were inspired by photographs taken on a trip from New York City to Baltimore. For several years, I have been using the camera as a tool to discover the unconscious optics of my surroundings. I am particularly interested in exploring Walter Benjamin’s assertion that “The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses” (Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936).
The Night paintings are executed on Color Aid paper mounted on custom walnut panels. Color-Aid is a set of papers (usually 220 or 314 in a pack) normally intended to assist artists and designers in color study. Each set consists of a fixed number of vivid hues (saturated colors), tints (clean, light colors), shades (dark, deep colors), pastels (muted or soft colors) and grays from dark to light, plus black and white. Each Night painting is named after the corresponding Color Aid reference number for the particular sheet of paper being used. For instance, the painting labeled B-T1 was painted on the Color Aid paper demonstrating the first degree of blue tint in the Color Aid packet.
I have intentionally left the original hue of the Color Aid papers to show through various passages in these paintings. These shifts in color mimic the diverse hues and intensities of the artificial lights that illuminate the nighttime landscape, while also enhancing the overall palette and mood of the paintings.
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