Friday, October 18, 2013

"I Am What I Eat" Description

I Am What I Eat, by Scott Blake, is a large collection of 32 hand-painted canvases that, together, make a rectangle about 16 feet long by 9 feet tall. The display is 2 dimensional in that it is made up of paintings, though it is 3 dimensional in that it is made up of a collection of canvases juxtaposed rather than one large canvas. Each canvas has a simple painted barcode on it. The barcodes are subtly distinct from one another in line variation and numbers, though compositionally, the black and white color scheme and similarities in patterns across all the canvases provide a high degree of repetition. Similarly, looking at all of the canvases together, the space between the paintings creates a kind of grid effect, further emphasizing the repetition of color and pattern. The brush strokes are very precise, making the paintings look, from afar, like exact replications of computer-generated bar codes, but up lose, it becomes clear that the artist took the time to intricately and impeccably paint each line, rectangle, and number with a steady hand. There is variation in the thickness of the many horizontal lines that cross each painting. On the right hand side, written sideways in a vertical fashion, there is a 10-digit number with two numbers on either corner surrounding it. These numbers provide round shapes that contrast with the straight lines to their left. The choice by the artist to put the numbers on the side rather than on the bottom—the way we are used to reading numbers, without turning our heads—draws the eye to the lines and variation in thickness rather than to the individual digits. A thick white border surrounds the rectangle made up of lines and numbers, which contrasts with the dark shadows case by the canvases on the wall behind each painting, giving each piece a slight 3rd dimension. The title, I am What I Eat, suggests that these paintings are barcodes of food consumed by the artist.

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