Caput Mortuum I is a series of paintings on sheet aluminum. The alchemical term Caput Mortuum refers to refuse: matter that has been killed and stripped of its worldly function.
I have reclamaimed found objects that have lost their worldly role of recognition and utility – crumpled tin foil rescued from landfill oblivion, scraps of failed projects from filthy corners of the studio, objects beaten against curbs by tidal traffic. They are things that are melancholic, often difficult to recognize, signifying disintegration.
Painting in itself is about coagulating matter into the illusion of stillness. Painting is also about the potential of substance to have abstract or imagined, non-physical possibilities. Like alchemical work, painting – particularly as mimetic representation in its self-reflexivity – can be a symptom and a method of melancholic introversion.
<<The alchemical or artistic work is strangely inside, and the human mind that directs it is also partly its inert substrate. What was once the agent of conceptual control over the work has become the bricks of its furnace… The furnace produces a product that is the furnace, and the mind tries to watch a process that is the mind.>>
Elkins, James. What Painting Is. New York: Routledge, 2000. 166.