I am becoming the paint itself

Barbara O’Sullivan
Whangarei, Aotearoa-New Zealand

 

Barbara O'Sullivan: No Beginning No End Of Beginning

No Beginning No End Of Beginning (detail)
6 panels, each 92 x 61 cm, PVC and Acrylic on canvas

 

The studio is the place where there are few rules and so my practice is based on the question ‘what will happen if’’?  Trying to pin down the opposites of figure and ground is fraught with the frustration of trying to solve a nonsensical problem, however, I have discovered that the language of paint is such a subtle and magical thing that it is able to speak for me.  The energy I bring to the painting studio is transmuted into the work itself and becomes the life of the paint.  Each time I lay down a colour, spread and mingle different tones, explore the effects of texture and make decisions about presentation, I am becoming the paint itself and it becomes my voice.  There develops an awareness that the paint, the painting and the painted merge into one and the sense of separateness dissolves.  The clear PVC sheet becomes a membrane, a thinly spread division between the temporal and spiritual, which then dissolves because it too, is empty.

– Barbara O’Sullivan


Continue reading at Barbara’s page in the artisans’ gallery

Source:  Extracts from Painting the Paradox of Emptiness – Barbara O’Sullivan’s dissertation for her Master of Fine Arts Degree.  This document can be downloaded from the artist’s website, and is highly recommended.

Images and text © copyright Barbara O’Sullivan

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2 thoughts on “I am becoming the paint itself

    1. I’m mystified as to how I missed your comment dear D. Apologies.
      I was fortunate to stay awhile with Barbara last time I visited NZ, so I can say with some confidence that you would appreciate her work “in the flesh”. Her ability to articulate her process in the way she does is unique imho – especially within the Art College context in NZ. I am amazed that her thesis subject was approved – it wouldn’t have been in my day…

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