Painting has had the threat of being rendered obsolete since the invention of photography in the 1830s, when Paul Delaroche announced: “From today painting is dead.” In the 1980’s two essays were written about the death of painting; Douglas Crimp’s paper ‘The End of Painting (1981) and Yves-Alain Bois’ work ‘Painting the task of mourning’ (1986), but paradoxically during this decade painting was seeing a revival with artists such as David Salle and Julian Schnabel gaining celebrity status. Since then painting has continued to be revived.
I paint to make sense of things that interest and intrigue me. As Alison Gingeras argues, ‘Memory is often triggered by the banal’, and the painted image corresponds more closely to the impression of ‘the brains mnemonic function’ than photography. Painting also offers me a way to link between fact and fiction. Charlotte Mullins states: paintings connect us to the ‘complex histories’ of the past. Although I paint images connected with the past, it is my interpretation of the past. The found images I work from are also interpretations, as are the historical texts I study. In light of this paint is the perfect medium for me to work in.
Barry Schwabsky has written about the act of painting: “For the viewer painting is a noun: the finished object we see. For the painters it can also be a verb: the activity in which they are engaged.” The physical act of painting is important to me as I feel the need to connect with my subject matter through paint and I consider it an extension of my research. For this reason, it was never enough for me simply to source a photograph or illustration depicting women during the past and display that as my final piece of art.