Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ON NOW- Eternal Life- Michael Staniak

"Eternal Life"
Michael Staniak
Metro 5 gallery
21 May- 08 June 2008

ON NOW

Skulls, still life flower arrangement, bust portraiture. All classical, painting, subject matter. These catergories of subject matter are in fact the earliest, simplest, building blocks of painted works subject matter. Artists would spend hours, capturing light, pattern, attempting to reproduce every possible iota of detail that they could seeof the real world and put it into their work. These artists relied on their eyes to see this visual data and their skilled hands to try and replicate it.

Skulls, floweral compositions, people; these are all classical examples of the temporal and fleetingly mortal nature of this world. Staniak is interested how the visual information of these objects and subjects can be stored as an image produced by the painter, existing long after the real representative of the sign on the canvas has died, withered or turned to dust.


This is compounded by the fact these images exist in a black void, which is either the unknown information of the environment that each object is within, or the negation of the information of the objects environment. They float in the black, ungrounded studies, egotistically, the only thing in existence within the picture plane.

These are not paintings that are in the business of storing information, they are only suggesting it. The images are not hyper-real, they contain the mark of the brush and the nuances of paint on canvas, another suggestion in the direction that the works are more about indicating how information can be captured with a painting rather than being actually paintings of captured information.


Lasers scan across the surfaces of the subjects, filling each minute crack they flash upon, picking up detail unseen by the human eye. Information so rich that it is incapable of being seen by even the most observant or of being produced by even the most skilled artists’ hand.

I can not help but feel that Staniak may be suggesting that painting is truly an inadequate and redundant method of representation or documentation in this contemporary world within which so many other and more efficient technological means for doing the same job, with greater ease, are available to us. This is okay though, the painting itself admits it and accepts it as it relays its own shortcomings in this area to the viewer. So where to now for painting and antiquated subject matter? Endless self analysis into the void no doubt, as places for it in this world are fast becoming scarce.

Artist's Statement at Metro 5 gallery: http://www.metro5gallery.com.au/work%20in%20progress%20Staniak%202008.htm

1 comment:

Simon O'Carrigan said...

heya ace, good to see you writing on our scene – you're totally right there's not enough of it around. And definitely not enough 'criticism' – only notices of opening dates or visual descriptions. How do I get in touch with you – you might remember me from VCA ... check out
http://www.visualarts.net.au/gallery/simonocarrigan
and i think hopefully i put my e-mail on there somewhere/.