Beth Luxton: Painting meets Animation Micro Commission – Introduction

I’m delighted to be working on a micro commission for Bricks over the next couple of months, centred around combining painting and animation, using projection. 

I consider myself primarily a painter, although most of my work has involved painting and screen-printing to date. I’m drawn to transitory, familiar materials that are associated with touch and home to memories, feelings and intimacies. This is the starting point for my paintings where I use digital and photographic processes including fragmented imagery, distorted perspectives, blurring and collage. The surface of each painting is important, where I highlight nuances in texture, transparency and finish. This is the closest the viewer comes to any true sense of reality, where the process and materiality of the paint speaks for itself but the content remains unsettling. Reminiscent of a digital screen, they are alienating to a certain degree and this is further enhanced by the animations, a recent addition to my practice. Together they bring into question the need for proximity and the comfort of distance. 

I started developing animations of my paintings during the lockdown in March, using Blender. I received some feedback from an exhibition a while ago that my paintings were ‘frustratingly flat’. I thought this was amusing at the time but also true. I’d often looked at them and wished they would move; it felt like there was more there, that they could say more. I wanted it to feel like you were entering the paintings and tried to exaggerate the feeling imbued in them. I’m interested in how they appear to an audience; it feels like the animations become a documentary and the painting an artefact. 

More examples – Beth Luxton

The question now, and the starting point for this commission, is how I want to exhibit the two together. Some questions I’ll be exploring are as follows:

How large should I project the animation alongside the painting? How does scale change the interpretation of the work? How can I exaggerate a feeling, through the display? Do I want the painting and paired animation to be in view of one another, or separate? Could I install tactile objects? Could I project onto the painting? How does projection itself link to the themes explored in my work?

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be trying to answer some of these questions and sharing the results, through this blog and finally with a talk. Initially I’ll be working with existing work and taking those ideas forward to a new paired painting and animation.