Paul Kneale

I Job My Love, 2017

Inkjet on Canvas

200 × 140 cm


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Artwork
Description

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.

About
the artist

Born in 1986 in Canada, Paul Kneale received his MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art (London) in 2011 and has been working closely with ARTUNER since early 2015.

Work by Kneale have been included in the exhibition Peindre la Nuit at Centre Pompidou Metz (October 2018). Some of his latest scanner paintings were recently on show in the Contemporary Photography Forum exhibition of the Boca Raton Museum (Florida, USA). In the past year, his works have been featured in the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, the Rubell Family Collection and at the prestigious Thetis Gardens in the Arsenale Novissimo (Venice), in a group exhibition on view during La Biennale di Venezia 57°. He lives and works in Toronto.

Paul Kneale is interested in how the world is constantly translated into a digital language which simplifies, trivialises and depersonalises content and the people it addresses. The artist explores the way in which digital facets of our existence can be manifested and reimagined in the flesh of the physical object.

The artist has been manipulating cheap scanners to generate a unique way of painting. Rather than capturing an image, the scanner creates an impression of the ambient light within the artist’s studio, bearing the abstract visual trace of the atmosphere surrounding the machine. The process is integral to his new works: the scanner paintings are built up from unique impressions and display multiple layers and striations often between transparent sheets and the colours resulting from varying light conditions in the artist’s studio.

The contrast between machines and their serial products results in what Paul Kneale defines as the “new abject”. In response to Julia Kristeva’s 1980 text ‘Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection’, the artist identifies a “new abject” for the information technology.

Describing today’s inherent revulsion for brand new materials, he pinpoints a disorientation in the consciousness of time and location, caused by our immaterial inhabitation of new technologies. This sentiment is embodied in works which often address, in original and innovative ways and media, the simultaneity and layering occurring in our ever-linked virtual existences.

Kneale, in an interview with i-D, defines the Internet as ‘a whole way of being in the world’. His practice aims at investigating the role of art in this new enigmatic dimension. Paul Kneale is an artist that explores the possible physical manifestations of the digital. His oeuvre reflects on the implications of algorithms and information flux. While these may seem very abstract entities, they constitute and shape our domestic daily environment.

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Kneale is interested in how the world is constantly translated into a digital language which simplifies, trivialises and depersonalises content and the people it addresses. The artist explores the way in which digital facets of our existence can be manifested and reimagined in the flesh of the physical object.

 


Paul Kneale
on Artuner