Monday, 10 June 2013

Progress and Process in Montana: Part Four

In the original entry in this series, we touched on Wallace's unusual use of gesso in the early stages of preparing his canvasses. Gesso is blend of white paint mixed with chalk, and in most cases is used as a primer, adding a thick, even layer to the canvas before the process of painting itself begins.

In his work with the highly textured materials of his sculptural surrounds, Wallace found himself inspired to consider the canvas's surface in a similar way. He began experimenting with the use of gesso to inscribe contoured images directly onto the canvas. "I started to depart from the traditional way of priming a canvas, and instead began to think of the primer, the gesso, as a means to impart movement, texture and imagery that would be buried underneath the paint.”

“I found this to be a very meditative process, and it's one which has become a part of my understanding of the painting even before it has begun. The texture is barely visible when the painting is complete. In this way, I am fetishising the work in the historical sense of the word: the laying down of this scribed image, scratched into the primer, with the knowledge that the paint will obscure it. The marks become like ghost images laying underneath the painting, underpinning its entire creation."

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