background image
PAJ 70
theless invoke a collective experience of
In terms of the transfer from screen to
canvas, this is largely mechanical, al-
though not without a large element of
control from the artist. The canvases are
made in the traditional way mounted
on stretchers and primed by the artist's
hand. Paint is applied using a machine
custom-built by Groebel, which sprays
paint in layers onto the canvas. These
layers each represent a colorway and are
calibrated by the artist using a non-
proprietary computer package, also self-
authored. By using an acrylic binder
with very nely ground pigments,
Groebel ensures that he is able to con-
trol the pigment to maximum effect. At
all times the artist holds the nished
image in his memory and is able to
manipulate the image and the paint to
his own ends. Although Groebel built
the painting machine to work on a
particular size of canvas, this has pro-
vided some restriction, as has the screen
ratio from the computer and television.
With the nal images, a number of
curious effects are presented. The work
grabbed from the television screen seems
attened and color becomes understated
in comparison to the intense color of
the photographic image. This is deliber-
ate on the part of the artist. In com-
puter culture, theorists often talk about
what is behind the screen in relation to
hardware rather than to the image. How-
ever, the depth of eld in television/
computer images is not large, and pixels
are known for making images look at.
This is precisely why so many computer
images made as artworks and trans-
ferred to hard copy often look so unsat-
isfying. Groebel works directly with this
effect. He contrasts the effects of central
perspective with the "room" of the tele-
vision screen. Central perspective works
like a window with things or people
represented with a position behind the
canvas, thus giving an impression of
depth. The depth of Groebel's paintings
lies within a small space in front of and
behind the canvas as represented by the
television screen. He argues that it is the
motion in the images of television which
represent depth. Working with stills,
and subsequently through the painting
process, emphasises the limitation of
each individual image on television to
be representative. By literally visualizing
this limitation through painting, he re-
introduces a role for painting while
pointing out the particularity of the
moving image as represented on a tele-
vision screen.
Color is important in this dissemina-
tion. Groebel paints light and shadow
rst and uses an old arti ce, dating back
to Sienna in the Renaissance, of mixing
a small amount of green within the
underpainting to obtain "better" esh
tones. This is as opposed to using just
yellow and magenta as is standard in
printing techniques. In this way he is
challenging the dictatorship of pure color
that has arisen with different forms of
printing. He argues that the color of
lm, video, and photography is too
intense and talks about how he often
feels the need to turn the color on his
television down. Groebel is trying to
achieve an effect of relative twilight; he
has noticed that paintings seem to be
able to absorb the last rays of light just
before it gets dark. He is able to achieve
this observation using his layer tech-
nique and, of course, through the paint
itself. It is true to say that printed hard
copies from computer screens lack this
translucent effect, and to date can be