richard bartle

Steppingstones by Richard Bartle

Haruki Murakami, in his semi-autobiographical book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, writes about how the obsessive nature of the creative mind is so very often brought into a very productive place whilst one is running; particularly the shifting perspective between the objective nature of the landscape below one's feet and the more subjective and meandering thought processes that happen along the way. I would add to this that the perils of traversing a dangerous rocky landscape brings this thought process into a heightened state of awareness.

'Steppingstones' is a series of 24 paintings inspired by the landscape I encountered whilst running along the rocky man-made shore of Kadikoy in Istanbul. The work not only tells the story of my own journey and the rocks themselves, but also that of the local people who occupy those spaces, traces of which can be found between the rocks and cracks, or through the dissident interventions of the citizens in the form of graffiti on the very surface of those rocks.

Whilst conceptual in its inception, 'Steppingstones'  is  fundamentally a celebration of the act of painting. Each painting in the series represents a real moment and a real place and the process of production, just like the process of crossing the landscape and, is formed step-by-step through the artistic and creative method. Surfaces become about layers of colour and texture, faithful to reality but more faithful to the memory of the moment. Production starts with the projecting and outlining of each rock. It is followed by masking and sealing, and the most figurative moment, the impasto rendering of the underlaying texture of the rock. The subsequent scraping, splashing and layering of paint is a highly performative process that serves to give each rock its hue and characteristics. Finally, after peeling the tape away, the stencils are added. The finished effect is a highly composed portrait of the rocks, seemingly free-floating like continents in a sea of black and clutter.

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steppingstones

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The film that inspired the project, made by Yavuz Inam.

My studio in Kadikoy, Istanbul.

 

 

 

 

© 1996 Richard Bartle, all rights reserved.