Foundation faculty member Daniel G. Hill recently spoke about his work as part of his solo exhibition Digital Painting at the Koussevitzky Gallery, Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
“I work in the areas of painting, photography and digital media. As a personally constructed system of signs, painting is inherently abstract while photography, an indexical sign left by a trace of light across a film plane, is unavoidably representational. Though such a clear distinction can be made between these media, the corresponding realms of representation and abstraction are far from being mutually exclusive. Most attempts to separate them are fiercely partisan.
My work in digital media has explored this overlap of representation and abstraction by blurring the line between photography and painting. Black and white photographic images have been used as armatures for abstracted expressions in color by translating an image’s tonal gradations into chromatic transitions more often found in painting. Imagery has included the gridded structures of architectural façades and the progression of form resulting from oblique views of window shades and staircases. The use of a photographic source and a digital medium has enabled a blurring of distinctions between the representational and the abstract.
In more recent work, I have investigated the use of photography to re-present some of the more ephemeral aspects of a painting’s reception by a viewer—specifically, lighting conditions, point of view and depth of field and their impact on surface and color. This work makes a maze of representation and abstraction by creating an abstraction—in the form of the print—from composite representations (photographs) of abstractions (paintings). A tension is created in the viewer’s mind by the conflation of a physical surface and the surface of its representation.
There are no paintings in this exhibition and only two of the ten works derive from paintings. However, the activity, process and way of thinking involved in the conception, development and production of this work are all a result of my history as a painter. Hence, the word Painting in the exhibition’s title is a gerund and not a noun representing an object.
A common aspect of all of this work is the tendency to give rise to the questions, “What am I looking at and how do I relate to it?” Such self-reflexive viewing is my goal. Artists remind us of our capacity to wonder.”
-Daniel G. Hill, October 10, 2009