This series of paintings was born out of a long term interest in the functions of language and information, especially in light of a digital age. These paintings are coding systems for language, each one contains in them a body of text that can be taken from any source (book, magazine, script) and from any language. I then process the information through a coding system of my own design. The system operates through colour, sequence and pattern, and ultimately the language becomes transformed into the paintings you can see on this page. In each work there is the potential for it to be read, as it was in its original state, and, as it is in its altered state. Through making these works, I wanted to explore what it means to reshape information, and think about alternative ways of seeing, or ‘reading’ the world around us. With language, spoken and written, as our primary means of communicating, it seemed a natural starting point for me to work with.

The decision to use a coding system stems from extensive research into what it means to be part of a digital age. In our current situation, everything is underpinned by coding systems, everything can be reduced to a molecular binarism where all systems can be simplified to yes/no decisions. This is seen through some of my earlier works where single objects or placements would have a singular meaning; in a sense these early pieces are simple codes, paralleling the binary systems that underpin our existence. The ‘Painting Language’ series in this dossier have become far more complex, carrying greater levels of information. They now relay information such as punctuation and sentence structure, as well as lettering. Not only by using a coding system do these paintings reflect our contemporary society, but the intentionally physical nature of their making also contradict it, asking what does it mean to make the virtual, physical once more.

 © Josh Rowell 2019

Portfolio website of works by emerging contemporary artist Josh Rowell.

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