V.O.C. Collection

V.O.C. Collection was was part a self-directed contemporary art project involving household garbage.  A collection of leftover paint in a various states of decay was used to create the work.  The paint was photographed using macro views to emphasize the age, decay and toxicity of the substances.  My fascination with toxicity’s link to beauty can be seen in many of my works.  There is a motivation to take something and turn it into something unexpected.  Most of my colour or lighting manipulations are done in the camera.

Approximately half the cans were photographed using film and the other half were photographed digitally.  Different lenses were used to achieve the best vantage point to create my compositions.  Each can had a different level of decaying paint so using the same lens throughout was not possible.  All images for V.O.C. Collection were printed on colour darkroom c-print paper.  This paper is starting to to be less available and considered old technology.  For those with an interest in photography or the artist’s process, the chosen photographic methods add to environmental discussions and debates about chemical toxicity.  Latex and oil based paints are just as toxic as some art or chemical photographic supplies.  It’s easy to forget the supplies used in some famous or historical works were toxic to the artist  or darkroom technician.

In the final format of V.O.C. Collection, each individual image was organized, mounted and grouped in 5 to appear as 6 different colour trend palette combinations from a retailer.  Visiting the websites of real paint companies, helped inspire some of the combinations.  My knowledge of colour and design theory was applied.  When presenting the work, the mounting and order of the swatches is somewhat flexible.  When seeing the work installed there is a fluidity to be experienced.  V.O.C. Collection has been shown as wall art installed both vertically and horizontally.  For one show it was installed on a column making it sculptural.

Discussions about different art mediums start to happen.  The stills created for V.O.C. Collection were designed to mimic the art medium of painting and evoke a sense of modernism with the use of form, colour and line.  Modernism is self-referential and interested in the materials used for an artwork.  Yet the approach for V.O.C. Collection becomes contemporary.  Household garbage paint starts to become elevated as art medium.  The photographic component of V.O.C. Collection starts to challenges the boundaries between the mediums of painting and photography.  Photography’s original purpose to record and render something three dimensional becomes inverted. There is a flatness to the photos much  like canvas paintings.

After completing the photography and assembling the work, the old paint was finally disposed.  If you live in a suburb it is easier to take a trip to your municipal waste station.  If you live in an urban or rural area, it is less motivating to make the trip.


Details from V.O.C. Collection.

Each individual image – 5×7 inch c-print.