In Paul Kneale’s ‘scanner paintings’, the medium is not a physical brush but a digital one. Using cheap, mass-market scanners the artist captures, manipulates and layers the ambient light and environment of his studio.
Kneale combines technology’s purported algorithmic objectivity with his own creative vision to mediate auratic interpretation, allowing him to address the ways in which technology can both distill and distort our reality. The sensitivity of the scanner lends itself to specificity while its cheap production often produces glitches that form new abstractions with each successive scan.
In ‘Orgasm During a Bad Trip’ (2019), those glitches combine with artistic licence to form caliginous, Rorschach test-like figures in the foreground of the painting, a notably large piece compared to others in Kneale’s body of work. Pops of colour add complexity, offing perspective into the ways in which technology can warp a changing environment.
The new reality Paul Kneale paints in this work prompts the viewer to explore not only their relationship with digitally-produced images, but also with their own surroundings and how they interpret reality. Here, ‘Orgasm During a Bad Trip’ realises the intangible aura of a space while likewise visualising the passage of time, thereby translating intangible concepts into non-figurative works that blur the line between photography, painting, and new media art.