Charles Vincent

Artist's Statements:

Hours and Other Measures
The Language of the Unclaimed Manifestos

An artist is a person who conceives objects or actions with the intention of answering questions with more questions.

When I began using text in my new work, I researched and read a lot of poetry, but in the end turned to advertising slogan writing methods for my art. I am using the teasing emotional pull available in these selling techniques to sell an idea about the nature of the text and the methods themselves. As these ideas take themselves apart using the mechanism of this language, the parts that are described are moved into different relationships. In the same way the images, which include the text as well as figural and spatial visual elements, split themselves into multiple parts and multiple relationships, and then reassemble to form a single image.

The concept of image suggests ideas about watching and measuring. To demonstrate this, I begin with the mythological concept of the Hours who watched the passage of the day, and build toward the scientific concept of the hour. There is some dispute among mythographers as to the number of Hours as goddesses, and this has followed through to the evolution of scientific thought with disputes, inaccuracies, and corrections in the measure of time and hours using clocks and other devices. I carry this over into breakdowns of other kinds of measuring, particularly perspectives. These I explore using the functional cubism of the engineer's isometric method, versus single point perspective with outlines, and again versus photorealist and other representational painting techniques. Each of these methods contains distortions or inaccuracies, and each expose to view elements of the subject that the others hide. For example, there are no outlines visible in nature; an artist depicting a subject using outlines is actually making a set of instructions about structure for the viewer's brain, rather than reproducing what light does on the retina of the eye. My question here is: does this linguistic act lead to a more or less accurate idea of what is being depicted or expressed? This I contrast with questions about depictions of light, or even just depictions of lights.

Continuing with the theme of measuring, seeing and watching, I am inspired by the fantastic proliferation of security cameras, and their myriad signs and camouflages that reveal and obscure them for us, in what is becoming a never-ending, titillating game of public hide and seek; an egalitarian paparazzi for the populace. Using the reassuring unease of security TV, "A Gaze Returned" is art that looks back at the artist and the viewer. Unlike Galatea in the familiar Pygmalion myth, she does not explode her status as art object by coming to life, but instead rebels by closing her eyes and handing me an image of myself, repeating this action for each subsequent viewer.

We live in a world that has become more eager to be shaped by a mirror than by a hammer.

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