An Artists on Art community article
By Joshua Flint
As I evolve, my painting practice has become more about the process and exploration. I enjoy developing the unanticipated or perhaps the unexpected. The starting point for this series of work began with elements that I responded to for an unexplainable reason. There was a pull or a draw that I was curious about but wasn’t really sure why. Through the act of painting, I attempted to learn more about these images and allow the painted image to unfold around these central elements. I held no preconceived notions of how the paintings would ultimately be resolved. They developed along their own lines.
My process involves building the image directly on the canvas, and at times I use digital tools to carry the work forward to test additional elements in terms of themes, composition, and design. The process becomes about exploration, and I have to remain open to the possibilities that lie within the canvas for reasons that I can’t entirely explain. I think there is an innate mystery contained within image making that can’t be explained in words. If it could, words would be used instead of images. In that way maybe I am honoring the history of painting in my approach.
I curated a large quantity of images from many sources: various websites, finds at local vintage shops, and social media platforms, in addition to utilizing my own family photo collection and photos captured in my daily life. I think developing the paintings this way brings dynamism to my practice that hopefully shows itself in the paintings.
A couple of years ago, the Library of Congress, among other institutions, released millions of images into the public domain for the first time in history. Large volumes of these images, ranging from photographs to illustrated books to maps, can now be used in any way by anyone. Additionally, art museums around the world have also contributed to the public’s engagement in art by allowing for greater public usage of their archived images. In the last decade, objects collected by museums have been digitally archived, making distribution to the public possible. I find this very exciting. It’s as if by looking through these images I’m time traveling, all of which brings a freedom in how I alter or represent the elements on the canvas.
About La Machine Animale (above)
What came to me when I painted this was the idea of people hurtling through life in machines to collapse space and time. A car, an airplane, or even a device like a cell phone allows humans to change their interaction with their environment. We no longer have to walk and absorb the world at a human speed limited by walking or running. These inventions have expanded our daily existence by intertwining us with technology. I see this as both heroic and absurd. Most things contain multitudes.
About Joshua Flint: “My work is based on images curated from many sources such as digitized museum archives, vintage shops, and social media platforms. The paintings fluctuate between the familiar and the unknown while simultaneously including the past and present. With the hierarchy of elements rearranged, the paintings become fictions that allow countless interpretations. Layered into works are references to liminality, ecological issues, neuroscience, psychological states, and the history of painting, among others.”
Upcoming exhibition: Solo show, Sloane Merrill Gallery, Boston, MA, September 15, 2018.
To submit your Artists on Art community article, please visit our Editorial Submission Guidelines page.
Sponsored Video Artist of the Week: Michelle Byrne