2 Risk, deferral and dilation

Untitled ii, 2009. Oil on Canvas. 140x166cm
Untitled ii, 2009. Oil on Canvas. 140x166cm

Shifting between collaged and obscure photographs of the Tzitzikama dune forest (Western Cape, South Africa) and the maternal matrix of this practice, this painting (Untitled ii) registers a particular kind of unspeakable and risky aesthetic event. A form of ‘free play’ the  aesthetic risk of my paintings figures as a complex interaction between conceptual mastery or the drive to coherence, and the performative interruptions of the deferral of drives and their sublimation into form. Aesthetic risk, as far as I can say, operates in the gap between form and formlessness, which in the case of this painting comes alive in the play of fractals and their proliferation. This is serious play, perpetually infected with the strain of coherence, order and mastery, which must be registered (as spatially coherent form), but crucially must also be deferred or sublimated (as painterly and numinous play). At times that conflict is overwhelming, but in this painting that sublime battle energises this ‘umbilical’ figure emerging from/embedded in, its pregnant ground.

In my current practice in general, such sublime provocation has a peculiarly hypnotic and transformative effect. The excessive repetition of the proliferating fractals in this painting produce a gaze that has no final purchase, it wanders from motif to motif, along the contours of a monstrous (maternal) body. Such mesmerising and mobile excess figures a gaze that is unable to consume or control. This becomes an immersive and dilatory gaze, a product of that sublime conflict and also its transformation. Put differently, aesthetic risk here becomes an ethical risk, one which not only resists consumerist and voyeuristic gazes, but which dilates or opens the viewer into multiplicity and difference.


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