Paul Kneale (b. 1986, Canada) is interested in how our experience of the world is increasingly mediated by digital technologies, which create a kind of parallel reality to our own – closely related but often warped and depersonalised. Kneale seeks to address this by reimagining the digital facets of our experience in an analogue language.
The artist’s ‘scanner paintings’ are one way in which Kneale seeks to re-embody the digital world. Leaving the scanner lid open, he uses it to create an impression of the light conditions within his studio, translating the physical world into a digital image. These images are then combined and manipulated, in a complex series of both ‘real life’ and in-computer interventions, before being printed. The image fluctuates between digital and non-digital states before finally emerging as a complete physical object.
This new series represents the most evolved position of the above process, and sees Kneale directly challenging the relationship of the painted mark to the painter. The mark, which has since the abstract expressionists been symbolic of the artist’s time-bound subjectivity, is now ‘radically denatured by its digital replication and counterfeit’.
Kneale’s painterly swipes are deceitful, the sincerity of their expression is challenged. The picture appears emotional and deeply expressive of the painter’s psychology, but on closer inspection the image is revealed to be speaking in false tongues. It is like an off-the-job actor: the audience recognises him from his last role, his body performs the familiar actions in its familiar form but they don’t mean what we have come to expect. A digital image with the same body language as a painting.