The German Artist Gerhard Richter has often explored the border between painting and photography in his art, but his series of ( has been largely overlooked until recently. With a collection of over than 2000 over painted photographs that he started since the 1980s.
The project is a combination of the impulse for economy/reuse with Richter’s artistic vision. The process begins with a group of commerically processed 4×6 family snapshots, made by Richter himself or others while on holiday, at his home or studio, or on walks in the park. The second component is the leftover oil paint, with various colors melded together, smeared on the long plastic blade that Richter uses to scrape paint across his canvases.
Richter than takes the photographs and pushes, pulls, and draws them through the surplus paint, lifting the prints to create ridges or allowing the paint to smear and drip to create spots and blobs. (No brushes are involved, although a palette knife is used from time to time.) The works are made quickly, with a large element of chance and spontaneity, full of simple gestural motion.
What emerges from this process are strange hybrid works, often spectacular in their contrasts. The most noticeable effect is that the colored swaths of paint conceal parts of the underlying photograph, leading the viewer to struggle to fill in the pieces of the figurative story, creating a sense of mystery or unknown. The abstract smears and ripples of color themselves have a beauty of their own, richly textured and swirled surfaces highlighting the “painterly” qualities of the medium. These two forces are then juxtaposed in each picture, with complementary or contradictory color schemes in the two layers creating additional visual excitement.”
By Loring Knoblauch / In Photobooks / June 24, 2009, From resource
By going through Gerhard Richter series of overpainted photographs, I noticed that he had a non-restricted intake on this project through experimenting the same technique on different themes & series of photographs. Since I am still not sure on which direction to take in my project proposal in terms of my main area of inverstigation this approach of his kind of helped me to start thinking of experimenting different areas by grouping each under one series and apply a unified technique to all as a start.
For now am planning to start with some family old photographs, and others I took during my travels by applying my Digital work on it, keeping in mind some comments I got from the critique class and the fellow students blogs in reference to my work.