Thursday, February 5, 2009

Smoke on Paper


“Smokes” by Rob Tarbell. Very ethereal.

Smokes consist of images that are created by capturing smoke on paper as evidence of a transformation and preservation of the ephemeral. During the process, credit cards, grocery cards, gift cards, photos, and slides of my artwork are burned to remove their growing presence in daily life, an ironic nod to a self-help technique of burning sentimental things to remove their emotional burden.

The performing animal images in the Smokes parallel the drawing process. The trainer must recognize and respect the innate nature of an animal when trying to modify its behavior to achieve a desired outcome: e.g. training a bear to dance or training a horse to walk upright. The same is true in working with smoke. The inherent properties of smoke must be respected, then permitted to - and yet discouraged from - acting naturally.

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