BARBARA BOLT (WA) - Uncanny Valley (diptych)

BARBARA BOLT (WA) - Uncanny Valley (diptych) sold

Medium:Works on Paper
Materials:diptych (framed) - watercolour and digital print on archival paper (left panel: digital print on Canson Infinity 300gsm - right panel: watercolour on Saunders Waterford 300gsm
Dimensions:43.5 x 87.5cm
Artist:Barbara Bolt (WA)

Dirt is a shape shifter. It has a way of insinuating itself into every nook and cranny making and leaving its mark. It is the stuff and agency of matter. What then, is the new articulation of dirt in a digital age? The artwork(s) presented here address this question through the form of the diptych.

On the one hand we have a watercolour. It flows and we get our hands dirty in the making:

I lay in paint

watch and wait

allow the paint to move

wet into wet, wet over dry

not total abandonment

but a lightness of touch

kick into the rhythm

respond to how the paint moves, bleeds, blisses

work with the paint, the sun, the heat and the wind

work in the heat of the moment

work hot

On the other hand, we have the digital. Such a clean medium to work with. No dirt on my hands, under my fingernails or on my clothes. There are affordances that the “program” offers for us to respond to and work with. And then there is “dirt” in the machine, the glitches—blur, pixelation, distortion—that erupt into the work and effect what the work is becoming.

There is another curious quality of the digital. When presented as a print the digital appears immutable. However in the machine it remains forever mutable.  Here the undo and re-do buttons allows for correction, the copy function enables iteration and re-iteration and its digital nature allows the image to be multiplied and transmitted ad-infinitum. This is the digital image’s strength but it is also its weakness. It weakens resolve and the re-do button allows for repetition.

The mutability of the watercolour, on the other hand, is of a different order. It is in the mind’s eye. It offers the capacity to imagine whilst its unique materiality is not in itself mutable. This opens up paradox: what is the relationship between the virtual, the mutable, the imagination and the material and what does this mean for the “auratic” quality of the digital? These diptychs are the beginnings of a conversation between the dirt and code, the analogue and the digital.

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