Tempera on paper on board
14,8 x 18,8 cm (5 1/2 x 7 1/8 in) (image)
31,1 x 35,2 x 3 cm (12 1/4 x 13 3/4 x 1 1/8 in) (framed)
The work is from a new body of work exploring images from the artist’s image archive, among them decades old snapshots associated with personal memories, tied to a specific place, a moment in time. Andrew Grassie chose motifs that had held his attention for reasons he could not always explain: photos from his image archive, sometimes many decades old and exuding a vague awkwardness, became sources for these works.
Each image of this series can be traced to a specific moment, often specific visual phenomena, remembered by the artist for persona and/or artistic reasons.
In the words of Andrew Grassie:
"I took the photograph in the late 80’s on a cheap plastic disposable camera that took great shots in this slightly squared off format. I was walking alone through the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, my hometown. It was one of those still and sunny days. I laid down on the verge of a flower bed to take this, looking up at the daffodils, which now appear to tower over and look down at us like a crowd of onlookers witnessing an accident. I remember contriving this affect by twisting the stems of the daffodils so that more of them faced towards me.
This photograph hung around with me for years, and I kept recalling it or otherwise coming across it in files. At the time, I was resistant to continue creating work based on rules or typologies. So I allowed myself to just paint this image without any idea where it would go. I started the work, finishing the drawing, then had the idea that if I painted it twice it would detract from the simple image of a few of flowers and become more about the process of copying, originality, time a certain pointlessness."
The intimately scaled, precisely painted work is executed in tempera, a painting technique associated with pre-Renaissance panel paintings anteceding the development of oil paint.
Part of the conceptual premise of transforming fleeting memories captured by photographic snapshots, into unique work of art executed with a time and labor intensive traditional technique, Grassie painted this motif twice. The delicate pattern of tiny brushstrokes characteristic of tempera painting makes each image clearly unique, yet the repetition of the motifs encourages a close examination of the small differences.