FINAL SHOW BYAM SHAW OF ART (1998)
The idea of the works presented here comes from some windows I saw – and photographed – in Spain last Summer. They had been carelessly covered in paint so that nobody could look through them. This made them beautiful and strange for they looked like paintings of windows: the glass took on a material aspect and the character of a painting’s surface, while the glazing bars looked like drawn lines. This visual pun intrigued me, for I had been thinking about the much discussed condition of painting and the wreck of the old vision of painting as a window or a mirror. It gave me the playful aim of painting on ordinary objects – real windows, real doors. But it also gave me the idea of trying to translate them to produce both their ordinariness and something beyond it. I wished to make paintings on canvas which derived from the objects, so as to confer a kind of objecthood on the painted canvas. The image, like my vision of the Spanish painted windows, would oscillate between something represented and the thing itself. These ambiguities between illusion and objecthood address questions of what constitutes painting.
All the works here have what could be called physicality, given not just by the fact that some of them are objects painted, but also in the character of the paint used and the way it is applied; in surfaces created by different materials, supports, paints, brushmarks. This materiality – the body which painting involves – is very important to me: for painting’s power has to reside in creating an experience that is not just to be articulated in language.