Paul Kneale

History States, 2019

Inkjet on Canvas

198 × 147 cm


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Artwork
Description

Paul Kneale describes his use of scanners as a more traditional painter’s use of different paint brushes. Indeed, his process is a constant cycle of image-building techniques, and going ever deeper into the painterly qualities inherent in the machine’s vision. In the present new development of his scanner paintings, he pairs his original technique of scanning the ‘air’ above the scanner bed, with the introduction of a by-product from his smaller-scale scan transfers. Scan transfers are created in a way that is similar to scanner paintings, up until the moment they are immersed in a chemical bath and the strong, basic elements of their compositions are melted into liquified shapes. The carrier plastic sheets that are completely (to the naked eye) erased by the chemicals find their way into his paintings: when scanned in the dark at very high resolution, these seemingly barren transparencies reveal intricate and organic patterns resembling cosmic nebulae and supernova explosions.

The series began to develop alongside Kneale’s body of sculpture, inspired by the suburban Canadian landscape: one where the will to communicate and that of creating barriers occur simultaneously, where chain-link fences end, useless, in the middle of an empty field, nature is continuously broken into by construction sites, which, often abandoned, are quickly taken over by plants again. As Paul Kneale reminds us, these landscapes are formed by accident, indifference, and capital: they are places to exist through, rather than in.

About
the artist

Paul Kneale (b. 1986, Canada) received his MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art (London) in 2011 and has been working closely with Artuner since early 2015. Works by Kneale have been included in the exhibition Peindre la Nuit at Centre Pompidou Metz (October 2018), 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°. In Autumn 2019 he unveiled Flat Earth Visa, a site-specific installation for the hillscape surrounding the Palazzo Re Rebaudengo in Guarene (Piedmont, Italy).  Most recently with Artuner his works were exhibited as part of the online exhibition STUDIOSCAPES: 2021 and in 2022 he created a series of NFTs in collaboration with LiveArtX. 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 ways in which digital facets of our existence can be manifested and reimagined in the flesh of the physical object. The artist manipulates 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. This 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 information technology. Describing today’s inherent revulsion of 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, 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 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

Part of the
exhibition

October 12th, 2019 until
October 30th, 2019
Curated by ARTUNER