Script: Painting Anthropology

Joan Giampa

Script

Title Pane

Painting Anthropology: The Evolution of a Painting
Vlog:  http://apainterwhoblogs.blogspot.com/2010/03/painting-anthropology-evolution-of.html

Definition: Painting Anthropology is the archaeological dig into the subconscious mind of a painter. “Anthropology“, pronounced /ænθrɵˈpɒlədʒi/, is from the Greek ἄνθρωπος, anthrōpos, “human”, and -λογία, -logia, “discourse” or “study”.  And this film will study the evolution of a painting.

7.5 minutes of film showing in fast motion the development of a painting.

Narration: (voice over fast moving film)

An Image has come into my head, “Snake Pit”.  The image conjures up a family situation in which all the players are engaged in a sort of snake pit.  The image came first, however and the situation, “the snake pit” followed.  What is important is that the two ideas were separate and then became one.  Now the image has context and meaning to the artist.  The spectator would never know this part of the magic.

The object has taken on a life of its own.  The objects do represent ideas or events that are going on in my own life in a symbolic sort of way.  The process in which I paint them is still evolving.  There was a time when I labored over many layers of paint.  Now it seems I can get to what I want to say with less laboring and less feel better right now.

The object has taken on a life of its own.  The objects do represent ideas or events that are going on in my own life in a symbolic sort of way.  The process in which I paint them is still evolving.  There was a time when I labored over many layers of paint.  Now it seems I can get to what I want to say with less laboring and less feel better right now.

My name is Joan Marie Giampa and I am a contemporary artist/painter.  I grew up playing in the wooded areas of Northern Virginia along a stream called Difficult Run.  Difficult Run flows through Fairfax County, Virginia to Great Falls Park, on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. Today I still live close by the stream where I find and collect the natural forms for my work called “Earth Objects”.

“Earth Objects” are small pods, acorns, and leaves etc… that I collect during walks on the W & O foot trail.

Three tulip tree twigs that are in a circular pattern in the middle of a large field of brown and white paint.  I can relate this image to an event in my life at present.  I usually will use the earth objects as players on a field of color that represent these current events in my life.  They act like actors on a stage and the stage is the ground of the painting itself.  The objects usually represent people in my life.

I will attempt to document how I process ideas during the working process.  I will attempt to show you during the process of painting precisely where my left brain steps out of the picture altogether and I enter into the right brain mode commonly know as the subconscious or nonverbal.  I like o call this mindset “the space between”.  That space I enter into which cannot be verbalized only felt and responded to.  “The space between” in not only a Dave Mathews song, but it is where I live most of the time.  It is where my spirit resides.  It is timeless and has not conscience.  It is void of worry and anxiety and it is sort of a creative cocoon.

I search for this space in my artistic process.  I call this process Image Archaeology.

This makes a great deal of sense to me.  In graduate school, I was using metaphor as a word that described my ideas because my paintings were more story-like.  And now the work focuses on one aspect of a story.  So in essence the part (the earth object i am painting) has a story of its own and can have multiple meanings.  One such object that I have been painting lately is the Yellow Poplar Tree Pod, Liriodendron tulipifera, commonly known as the American tulip tree, tulip poplar or yellow poplar, is the Western Hemisphere representative of the two-species Liriodendron genus and the tallest eastern hardwood.

Anthropology is important because it deals with the study of human, their existence, their culture and social organization. One of its branches is Archaeology which deals with the study of human material culture including artifacts and modern garbage.

I refer to myself as an “Image Archaeologist™.  And my personal iconography is based on the discovery of objects in nature in their native environment.  After finding an object, I take it home and digitize it with my camera.   I then manipulate the photo in a software program called Photoshop to uncover the objects underlying structure. The uncovering process is really a series of filters that I use in Photoshop to remove the objects “outer skin” and reveal its “skeleton”.  Once I feel I have the “skeleton”, I can then take the image to canvas.

I staple wet gessoed canvas onto my studio wall and project the image onto the canvas.  I then carve into the wet gessoed canvas with the butt of a paintbrush an imprint of the “image skeleton”.  I scrub into the surface ground with multiple layers of paint and rub paint into the grooves of the dried gesso surface.  Additional layers of paint are then brushed lightly over the beveled edges of the image to unearth the skeletal impression. More layers of paint are brushed on and wiped away as the image becomes the surface ground and the surface ground becomes the image. It is this process of digging into the canvas and discovering the object within the corporeal ground that makes it “Image Archaeology” ™.

The approach of incising, dusting, digging and other archaeological terms is still how I see that I approach the process of painting.  And then the objects on the surface of the picture plane somehow look as if they are etched and found in the surface.  I cannot explain why I do this, but it feels right.  At times it is a very physical process and that is what I like about it.  I love the physical act of painting and the way that colors can be brushed lightly over textured edges to create depth.  I sometimes feel like they are prints or imprints.  I named my process “image archaeology”, because I think of myself as an archaeologist who finds and image in the surface of a canvas and brings it into existence with all this work that resembles that of what archaeologists do.  In a sense, I am a working metaphor of an artist as archaeologist.

There is a constant searching for the middle ground–the space between the figure and the ground–through the application of paint and projected thoughts.  What remains behind or merges into existence is this exchange of energy between me and the picture plane that culminates into a work of art.

Category: W6: Final Project Topic  Tags:
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