Back Side of a Painting, after Marion, 2011, oil on canvas, 107x130
Back Side of a Painting, after Lyotard, 2011, oil on canvas, 107x130
In his ongoing project, "Back Side of a Painting," David Ginton unravels the affinity between the painting’s visible-visual aspect and its rhetorical, epistemological, commentative dimensions. He creates a work that is at once a painting and a comment on painting. In the two works created specifically for "According to Foreign Sources," he draws attention to one of the major issues addressed by the exhibition: the (im)possibility or (un)feasibility of representing, reducing, closing, or mediating the gap between "the thing itself"—that which exists "out there," in the world outside the picture, and its representation. In other words, before we even reach the walls of censorship and law, Ginton draws our attention to art’s immanent, permanent failures of representation, intending not to discourage the artist but to enrich the creative process. Ginton does this when he "imitates" the subject of his paintings, and instead of quoting directly from the French philosophers, he quotes, in the case of Marion, from a public relations blurb about his book, The Crossing of the Visible, and in the case of Lyotard—from an entry in an online encyclopedia of philosophy that mentions his book Libidinal Economy. Ginton’s "source," which originates in the expression customarily used in discursive quotation laws "according to" or "as X said \ wrote," is not the original text, the origin, but rather an interpretation of the original. Ginton leaves us with the "great naught distinguishing between signifier and signified"; between what the eye sees, or the foreign source says, or that which even presents itself to us as existing "out there," and what art is capable of doing with this information.