TRANSFORMAL 2012

PAUL HOBAN
TRANSFORMAL

2012

EXHIBITION TEXTS

Contradiction and Form are fundamental concerns in this work. In relation to contradiction, the paintskin as a strategy remains essential. The painting is initially constructed on a flexible plastic sheet. The image develops by accretions, overlays and superimpositions. Eventually, the film of paint is peeled off and overturned – it may then be mounted onto a canvas support. The technique reverses the traditional painting process by evading predetermined outcomes. I like to read this as metaphorical. If traditional painting is covering up, then the paintskin is an uncovering of what was concealed.


In relation to Form, my work stages a critical dialogue between the absolutism of late modernist formalism and Entoptic Geometry, or Form Constants. Rather than an ideological philosophy, I see fundamental form as universal – outside of culturally specific intentions. Entoptic shapes have a neurological source. In a nutshell, the human visual cortex likes them because they reflect its own structure and mechanics. I propose therefore that fundamental forms are potential access points in intercultural dialogue – they permeate visual art across all times and all cultures.


In these works, lattices, parallels and circles are the primary vehicles. The circles have become holes large enough for a hand to pass through - portals through the paintskin membrane. To me the holes seem to suggest another place glimpsed beyond the veneer of this world and this time. I am sure that this would be an idea familiar to the first artists decorating their own skins or conjuring beasts through cracks in cave walls. Thirty thousand years ago, prehistoric artists were using their breath to propel pigments magically onto the walls to create their imagery. This also suggests an association with street art spray painting. I find a further connection in its stylistic roots, to my own childhood memories – in comic book art of the early 1960s. Those familiar with my past work might be surprised to notice the traces and palimpsests of speech bubbles and comic strip imagery fragmented and buried like primal memories in the painted surfaces.


Paul Hoban, July 2012.