‘I’m attempting to discover a universe; Concealed in the endless possibilities of 3D space, yet confined to a flat picture plane that reflects our inherent reality’. Malcolm Koch
Malcolm’s Artistic Approach: Is it painting or sculpture?
Since 2004, I have been developing the idea that a different kind of aesthetic is created when events are deployed on a curved canvas rather than a flat ‘two dimensional’ plane. Marks created in this way take on the form of the geometric profile, so that when the results are re-stretched to the two dimensional picture plane, the aesthetic emerges. I call this approach Membrane Art — as it is the curvature profile(s) of the surfaces that underpins the development of each artwork.
Like a sculptor who works in three dimensional space, this approach allows me to engage with all dimensions, space and surface, including both sides of the surface. However, unlike a sculptor, when ‘painting’ in this way surfaces are partially, or completely, obscured from my sight. Also, unlike painting directly onto a flat picture plane, the flexibility of the curved canvas surface allows for reciprocal marks to result that cannot be achieved on a flat surface. However, the key is always to return to the two dimensional picture plane as this generates the human visual experience.
Why paint in this way?
Recognising that the surface membrane creates the basic structure for the artwork is only the beginning. Results can either echo, connect and/or entangle themselves in ways that cannot be achieved in our flat dimensional world — yet, in the end, you never truly know what you’re going to be looking at until you unroll it. It shows that the markings have come from somewhere else — where expression and sculpture unite — which is why I consider this approach neither painting nor sculpture.
Creating a different kind of abstraction is born out of a need to sculpturally define our multi-dimensional universe. It shows a world that we cannot observe directly, yet we know it exists. So the meaning may appear latent but the premise and execution of the artwork is far from it. There certainly is a sense of freedom by working in this way. Creating a gestural response that is deeply-rooted in the present context of quantum physics yet not bound by its mathematical theorems, provides an artistic licence to explore.
Membrane Art holds true regardless of whether the events made on the surface are painted, sprayed, poured, drilled, slashed, stamped, cracked or any other kind of mark-making. It is the curved nature of the membrane surface that creates the structural expressions for the work and, provided the work is presented in a flattened two dimensional form for observation, it is a consequence of the aesthetic thought.
Similar to the way things may appear in nature at the atomic level, we may not fully comprehend the methods and sequences that allow it to appear the way it is but it seems to form part of our inherent reality.
Painting today needs possibilities, to go beyond a rehashed post-Minimalist or process-based ideas from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and discover a beauty that it can call its own.