Andrea Bagdon

 

There was a disruption to the canon of art in 1968 with the invention of the handheld Sony Portapak camcorder. Due to its global accessibility many female artists from different art practices gravitated towards this technology as a new form of art making. In its infancy, this medium was not yet appropriated by male artists and was not taught in art institutions. Thus, it represented a medium untainted by the baggage of art history as well as cinema. As a result, experimental video became a feminist medium which offered an alternative form of mediation to subvert the patriarchal artistic canon. Because of this history, the recovering of the feminist origins of video work can be placed in service of my interdisciplinary art practice which undercuts the pervasive patriarchal ideology that underpins painting. I believe that video can become a conduit for cognitive perceptual behavior. Video translates visual information at electronic speed through waves, which is faster than human optical perception. Image processing through video allows for a fundamental questioning of not only an aesthetic experience but also our own bias and understanding of reality. Video can offer a second version of the world where light and color are seen differently through the video programing. It can be used as a tool to collapse the symbolic visual language of femininity by creating figure-ground relationships that are enhanced and simultaneously fractured. 

 

Video provides a disobedient mediation to disrupt the traditional canon of art. My newest paintings are the result of harvesting image stills from manipulated experimental videos that I create. This hybrid form of art making allows me to enter into a new conversation with my imagery with agency so that I can negotiate with the baggage of painting instead of being controlled by it. Rather than dominating the canvas with paint, I first have a dialog with the video. The resulting paintings are uncanny in their ability to expose the layers of reality. This uncanny layering gives my paintings a sense of movement and time that addresses the contemporary cultural programming of the female psyche. I create a circuit between video and painting by using these mediums to mutually inform each other. A dialog emerges between artistic intuition of using the paint body and the technical automation of video that blurs the real and virtual. This blending of the intuitive and the technical creates dynamic images that translate well on the seductive surface of a canvas. Video can be used as an image processing medium to not only reinvent painting, but also to be used independently to bypass an ideology that does not represent my values as a female artist. Art making, including painting, should constantly be interrogated to challenge the status quo. By merging a historically patriarchal medium such as painting with experimental video, a medium that has been associated with feminism since its inception, my work aims to do exactly that.