Randall Steeves' paintings invite the viewer to reconsider the gesture of painting itself. The canvases–thickly painted, scratched and gouged–explore the relationship between the photographic index and the painterly trace with a wry nod towards conceptual art practice.

The paintings are all made from encaustic; a beeswax based paint that is heated and brushed onto the canvas where it hardens immediately. The process results in a complex surface that can be read as a chronology of the painting’s construction and as a record of the painter’s physical presence and actions. The physicality of the paintings is reinforced by magnified renderings of the artist's own fingerprints. He had himself "processed" by the Vancouver Police Department in preparation for this work.

For Steeves, the fingerprint is “a metaphor for painting… for what I’m doing when I’m making paintings, but it also has to do with what we’re doing when we look at paintings. It’s about the examination and categorization of human marks, of the traces we all leave behind. Painting can be thought of in similar terms.”

 

 

Magnified detail of Soma in Orange, 2010

Magnified detail of Soma in Orange, 2010