The significance of Kneale’s art lies in the process of creation as well as in the final result. The aim of his scanner paintings is to capture the outside world through the gaze of the digital. Here, outside world refers to those abstract entities – such as space and time – that we all inhabit but that often evade our perception.
The digital gaze then becomes an extension of the human eye, revealing all those things that, due to our physical limits, would be doomed to remain invisible. With the lid open and nothing on the scanner bed, low and high resolution scans crystallise the flicker of neon lights undetected by human perception, dust particles on the copy bed, the changing atmosphere of the studio. This otherwise invisible microcosm is thus translated onto the canvas through the visual vocabulary of the digital, which can take the form of acidic tones and multidirectional stripes.
Though his artworks deal with abstract entities such as space and time, it would be a mistake to identify Paul Kneale’s art as abstract in the traditional sense of the term. In fact, the process through which the digital represents the surrounding environment is a very concrete one. It is not, however, an indexical one. Indeed, according to Paul Kneale, the scanner painting technique is more akin to traditional painting than analogue photography. Indeed, recording light, space and the passing of time through the aid of the appliance’s digital microchips is a method reminiscent of Renaissance artists’ use of the grid to capture in their paintings what they witnessed in the world – and not, as it might seem at first glance, of the physical imprint that light leaves on photographic film.
Dramatically split into two halves, with its evocative colours, ‘Untitled’ makes no exception. Although the painting is non-figurative, like a Rorschach test, it is possible to see many different objects and shapes in it.