Annka Kultys Gallery, London
The works of the four artists in the show highlight the blurring and perhaps increasingly symbiotic relationships between the once separate disciplines of painting, photography and more recently digital art; an unambiguous counterpoint to the earlier art historical notion of medium specificity developed by Modernist critics, most notably Clement Greenberg and Michael Friedman. Greenberg in his Modern Painting essay of 1960, for example, explained “medium specificity holds that ‘the unique and proper area of competence’ for a form of art corresponds with the ability of an artist to manipulate those features that are ‘unique to the nature’ of a particular medium.” Hence if there is a unifying theme that links the respective works in CACOTOPIA 04 it may very loosely and imperfectly be described as one of medium unspecificity; an anti-specificity or even medium ambiguity.
The third week of CACOTOPIA 04 will feature the work of American artist Garrett Pruter (b. 1987, Los Angeles, California; BFA at Parsons School of Design, New York, 2010 and MA Painting at Royal College of Art, London, 2020; lives and works in London). Pruter is renowned for his mosaic-style manipulations of found photographs that alter the meanings of historically and culturally important images; his work revolving around themes of memory and loss and the genesis of a photo being created and deteriorating through its lifespan. For the show Pruter has created a series of large abstract canvases by using multiple reprinted inkjet prints of the same found image as his starting point. For each work the artist prints off multiple versions of the chosen image and then, using only water as a solvent, proceeds to soften the printed ink until it makes gelatinous paste that can then be scraped off the paper and applied to the canvas. The final colour and consistency of the canvas is determined by the ‘average’ colour of the chosen image. CACOTOPIA 04 may therefore be viewed as another iteration of Pruter’s ongoing physical and metaphorical deconstruction of the photograph as a medium.