"The epitome of personal luxury and performance, the Ford Thunderbird reached its pinnacle with the 1977 model." – Ford Thunderbird's Online History
"The large powerful 1970’s era automobile in 1977 T-Bird can be read as a metaphor for contemporary gestural painting: it roars and spins and kicks up a cloud of dust, making some noise and demonstrating its potential, but it goes in circles and makes no progress." That's what I wrote to accompany the original version of 1977 T-Bird when it was first exhibited in Vancouver's final Artropolis exhibition.
That first installation was a series of twelve sequential encaustic paintings based on stills from a Super 8 film shot by Vancouver artist Scott McBride. It's short clip of my car doing donuts in California's Death Valley on the way back from a trip we took to Las Vegas. This is an animation loop based on stills from the film.
The panels are aggressively painted, resulting in surfaces that are rough with drips and textural interference, manifesting a physicality reminiscent of the familiar character of old film. In both versions, the translation of the random blemishes (dust, hair, scratches and other visual noise) of the Super 8 film is just as important as the car’s gesture and the location (Death Valley) as subject matter.
I think that there is always a tension in painting, especially in work that’s informed by gestural modernist painting like mine, between the image being painted and the way the work is painted. It seems that there is always a separation between the actual marks that are made and the picture that an artist chooses to paint. This piece is perhaps more clearly about that than some of my more abstract work. This is why I find the Poussin painting interesting (see the previous blog entry) and I think this concern is there, to a certain degree, in everything I do.