Untitled (painting) Paintscape 7 (photograph), 2013
Oil on Canvas
Original size: 20 x 20 in
Within the study of the history of painting, the photographic detail is a device used to reveal ‘the hidden’, such as technique, gesture or the genius hand of the artist. The ‘Paintscape’ macro photographs reference this search but with a more ‘forensic’ approach, a documenting and mapping of the material fact of paint, rather than a search for ‘artistic truth’. The source paintings are fictions, produced to be digitally photographed. Paradoxically, this method has resulted in imagery that also references the aesthetic of romantic seascape painting, a (re)discovery of Copsey’s painting traditions.
“Rick Copsey’s Paintscape photo-series looks like photographs of seascapes but they’re really of wet paint drying. Despite his use of distinctly non-traditional picture-making processes, Copsey is a landscape painter who is in the business of enticing makebelieve and mystification. His thinking might be more in line with Baudrillard’s concepts of hyperreality – “a real without origin or reality” – but he also harks back, as have many contemporary artists recently, to Kant’s “formless and shapeless” sublime. But Copsey’s trick-visions of natural forces at work are less an empathetic depiction of the elements than perhaps a play of illusions for an age where so much experience is digitally mediated.”
– Robert Clark