Paul Kneale’s works are deeply rooted in the digital era: his use of scanner technology to create beautiful paintings is revealing of the artist’s familiarity with questions of digital versus physical reality. His practice specifically investigates the liminal areas between the two realms and results in artworks that make the digital abstract a tangible reality.
Kneale destabilises notions of the archive and documentation. A scanner is most commonly employed to translate a physical, printed image into the digital world. However, the artist uses cheap scanners to record ambiance and environment, manipulating and capturing the light in his studio or taking in the darkness from the night outdoors. The scanner records, in its own whimsical way, the more transparent and unnoticed aspects of physical reality: light conditions, the air above the machine, imperfections of the glass, the creases of crumpled transparencies. Every element contributes to create a work that is layered with materiality and immateriality, space and time.
Such stratification of data gives way to a non-figurative visual vocabulary, into which the viewer can read many different narratives.
‘Blonde Benzo’ conveys a certain sensuality: the seemingly purple veil, which clouds the viewer’s vision like an opaque panel, reveals an uncannily familiar contour behind it. The creases of the transparency used by Kneale almost suggest a profile gazing upwards appearing in the middle section, or the voluptuous waves of satin drapery.