Newcall Gallery

Saturday, October 18, 2008

14-10-08 | Emma Phillipps writes on Sam Rountree William's show

Sam Rountree Williams
Newcall Gallery
15 October – 1 November



The experience is distinct from viewing per se.

The experiencing subject is described through its own spatial relation, and attention to, objects as they are occurring – spatially – in the present time of observation. Imagining that one’s observation itself is (re)articulating forms and their own spatial configuration, that which articulates, or is presenting, painterly forms to one. That is also formations occurring. Forms are made present through one noticing continual changes and shifts – form is never the same as itself, even for an instant. The spatial relation – forms as distanced or proximate to other forms – is constantly fluctuating, following these ‘inner’ motions. One’s inner motions is one noticing form as constantly shifting, these changes or motions of form are not exterior or outside of that subject’s observation. Change is said to occur interiorly – as if the motions of form’s occurrence could not be differentiated as ‘inner’ or occurring outside of that, range. One ‘seeing’ what is occurring as collapsing with an awareness of that (mind’s activity). “Collapsing” divergent ways of apprehending (and noticing that, as apprehension, too) becomes a singular plane.
“What's there” (on the surface, immediately visible) – on two planes – is distinct from the ‘collapsing’ that occurs as one is constituting (‘inner’) and yet only noticing (aware exteriorly) the form’s motions – seeing that motion (“what’s there”) and one’s own awareness of it. A basic figurative space (two planes) is employed, though not to stabilise any form that occurs there. The visual properties of particular marks are a physical suggestion of surface only to indicate forms as present in a figurative space. They are only processes of layering surface, as in both additive and peeling back, that is the painted surface, to create depth.
Objects are suggested and are in the process of revealing their own formations which is distinct from imagining objects as constructions because that implies “completed” forms. Forms are themselves a process of relations (as constituting), and yet these are continually changing, so both the forms, and relations constituting them, are indeterminate. These (form’s motions) are communicated in the blurring, obscuring and abstracting process.
Form, as it appears obscured and abstracted, is not a result of direct manipulation of materials. The formal relationship is as if one happened (painted?) across it, spatially, which is similar to, or in the process of mirroring, forms themselves, as they are indeterminate. There is painting from the standpoint of watching what is happening and just finding out what’s occurring there, on the surface of the canvas. Forms are not said to be occurring prior or elsewhere (seen before or in the past, that is ‘copied’), typically characterised by representational (as a kind of mimesis, looking toward something outside of oneself) and expressive (content projected outward from within) modes. Recognisable fragments emerge, but that is a separate action (not expression or representation).
I am visualising ‘definitive chance’: forms emerge and are recognised only in the sense that they are taken up as occurring in a particular relation. Decisions to abstract form are then distinct from imagining form as fundamentally abstract and intending to communicate that. These decisions are also distinct from making use of abstraction – as an aesthetic or stylistic method – because they provide one with a stance that may be interpreted as reactionary toward form - as either ‘observable’ or ‘occurring’ – itself. This is also distinct from a process aimed at formal distillation to achieve a state of total purity or non-specificity or the attempts to capture the essence of a form (static interiority). As if a purely abstract form is not attached to any specific instance or representative of any particular position. Though this “unattached” is a particular position in itself.
The artist states that, “the understandings exhibited in the work arrive[d at] through process, discovery and contingency.” Abstraction as a painterly strategy is meaningful as the material formations of paint itself are exposed. Just as the eye moves, repeated action.
What is aptly recognised is that a full experience of the “object” – it does not exist, there. There is no fuller view. The apprehension of form as occurring in present time is shifting and multiple. This is not accumulation or epiphany’s motions (as mind’s activity and construction).
Forms are interdependent as relations are constitutive of form itself – though is similarly distinguishable, individually (that is each form), through this same set of relations.
The experience is distinct from viewing per se. Always sensitive to the tension in which forms are held (as tonal responses) when the work is “resolved” or configured interiorly (mind’s activity) it is only momentarily or individual. Potential is conflated (reconfigurations simultaneously occurring). “Where the viewer puts things together” – phenomena is the content of one’s scrutiny – “and that's where consciousness could be expanded” – the viewer seeing their scrutiny as phenomena, too. Evoking an art experience – that is the slowness and awareness of one’s observatory patterns - where historical time not only flattens but becomes present. Observatory patterns in a singular present moment are constitutive of form and change in the next moment, and are always re-articulating the work entirely.
The perceiving subject’s experience as meditative is, not of, forms. Forms becoming “graspable” – becoming something perceivable in space - and can be “held” there.


Emma Phillipps