Catherine Haley Epstein: Hi Paul - I'm really enjoying this image right now, especially as I sit in a very bifurcated country (US) today. As you likely understand, and per this image, truth only comes when you don't have binary thinking. I'd be curious if you have continued with this series and thought process? I'm intrigued...


Richard Zeiss: Hi Ryan, I quite like this work, and will permit myself for now to just add this quick note: you may find Reece Jones' work interesting. Have a look. I suppose there is a more explicitly, or visually, metaphysical aspect in Reece's work (you will see what I mean) than is immediately raised in yours, but you may find it interesting all the same...

Andy D'Cruz: Ryan,

I have been drawn to your work not only because it resonates with mine in mood and atmosphere, but also we seem also have a desire to communicate a charge, something we have felt from experiencing the places or situations we have found ourselves in.
This quality seems for me to lie within the place, and is referred to not in mere depiction but as a more embodied entity within the work. I like the feeling of something being imprinted, left to be re-experienced by the viewer, a feeling of returning to the scene, a place of importance, an eerie sense of place.
I especially appreciate your comment ‘between memory and reality’. I also like the notion of these being confused with dreams as well as other peoples shared memories and common experiences.
Anyway great to see it, maybe you could comment some more?




Nigel P : Flag intrigues me greatly- at a glance I get the Richter references and see that it looks vaguely like a lot of other paintings from any time in the last 40 yrs or so. As in - it looks like a lot of the paintings I like looking at and feel comfortable with. But then I'm not so sure that it is like anything so familiar. I started to see landscape, or aerial photography or some kind of animal pelt in the left hand half. Then there is the spine - I'm assuming it's two separate panels with stitching pulled between - that reads like a border, isolating one from the other, minimising a contagion. Kind of thought that the title refers to a warning - to be aware of the danger, not to take the painting at face value, which I certainly would heed.

Jane Boyer: Hello Nigel,

Thank you very much for your comments, I'm sorry to be so late in responding. First of all let me address the technical question you raise of two panels stitched together. Flag is in fact a single unitary piece. The central line which does look like a sort of stitched spine, is a thick application of acrylic white paint that cracked in the process of drying. I think it may be the thing I love most about the piece. It's funny you mention seeing an animal pelt in the left side. If you saw the painting in person, that area on the left does indeed look like a pelt. It is a very thick smear of paint that has a curiously fuzzy/dull texture, which is not at all evocative of the texture of paint.

Yes, I was as equally enthralled with Richter's smear paintings, as I was with Johns' flag paintings when I painted this. I'm very gratified by your comment, "Flag intrigues me greatly- at a glance I get the Richter references and see that it looks vaguely like a lot of other paintings from any time in the last 40 yrs or so. As in - it looks like a lot of the paintings I like looking at and feel comfortable with. But then I'm not so sure that it is like anything so familiar." I think that is an important thing to accomplish in a work, the feeling of familiar resemblance, that simultaneously raises questions of familiarity and resemblance. That is another aspect for the simulacrum, that I discussed in more detail in response to Niki Hare's comments below. That sense of familiar resemblance also hopefully indicates that my work is grounded in art discourse, but is pushing boundaries.

I like your final statement too, "Kind of thought that the title refers to a warning - to be aware of the danger, not to take the painting at face value, which I certainly would heed." I think any time an 'anti' concept is presented, which is essentially what you have responded to in your comments, there is cause for warning. Much like the words 'neo' and 'post', 'anti' is a prefix that presupposes a great deal in the debate, it's perhaps this presupposition that is more problematic than the notion of resurrecting, reinventing, or antagonising, which is carried in 'neo' 'post' and 'anti'. And to be perfectly clear, I am not suggesting something like 'neo-fascism' is in any way not problematic! What I'm talking about is language and the way we use it. The warning you sensed in the title 'Flag' is a warning to engage preconceptions with care.

Thanks again for your comment.

Nigel P : Hi Jane Thanks so much for taking time to write. I very much enjoy the clarity with which you discuss your work and am eager to see what happens next in the play of expression, autobiography & simulacra. I'm used to thinking of simulacra in terms of post modern critique - new media, virtual reality & breakdown of meaning - here though there is a sense of the personal and uncanny tied into wider ideas of how paintings become Painting and how we assess values, social justice etc.

I especially like the process by which paintings translate across media - when the single object becomes many images: the changes and distortions that occur, the misreadings.... that a raised bar of paint can read as a tear or split - the role of the viewer in endorsing likeness: witnessing the cycling of images-unwittingly perpetuating slippages and misreadings: such spaces for expression & story.

Niki Hare: Hi Jane,

I really like this piece and admire the execution. Flags frighten me a bit, just all the things that lead on. I guess that is just something of my past and where I come from. This is a very open flag that implies something neutral.

Jane Boyer: Hi Niki,

Thanks very much for your comment! I know what you mean, flags kind of scare me too. When I painted this I had recently moved to Europe and was feeling very anxious about being American. I was thinking a lot about Jasper John's iconic handling of the American Flag. For me, my Flag is an anti-flag. It is neither symbolic, except of its own void, nor is it a call to action or allegiance, though there is a great deal of activity in it and it presents a clear distinction between right and left. I think it may be because these very things are brought to the fore in the work, that I think of it as an anti-flag. It shows all the things that flags actually do, without offering any symbolism which activates so much tension and conflict in their presence. Flags are simulacra, representing nations, values, and cultures. They stand in as an immediately recognizable symbol of all the history and actions a nation has undertaken. To present an anti-flag is to strip bare the simulacrum, undermine it, and induce its recurrence as something devoid of power when stripped of its symbolism. It turns the simulacrum into a simulacrum of itself, which is the ultimate destiny for any simulacrum. Simulacra never die, they just perpetually fold and consume themselves.

I should mention, an example of this is Enigma Wall, which is uploaded in my profile. It is a hyper-replication of Flag and it exemplifies this idea of perpetual folding of the simulacrum.

Thanks again for your comment. That is probably more than you ever wanted to know about simulacra!

Niki Hare: Thanks Jane!

You have both confirmed everything I was finding in Flag, and also strengthening my understanding of simulacra. Very helpful indeed ;-) Especially looking at your piece Enigma Wall now, the idea of this perpetual folding, nothing ever really goes away. I am thinking now of Richter's stripes, they were born of other paintings, so they were the other paintings, only in a different format, folded.
I am also thinking of a vast installation I made of a folded paper mountain last year, one of the things that fascinated me in it's process was the repetitive enlargement of my original image, and the changes that occurred in that process. My original image was less than A4 and was eventually printed out to over 160 sheets of A0, my process was rubbish, just a real bodge job of printing, enlarging and rephotographing by section, and reprinting and enlarging. However, little things started to happen with each reproduction, little dust motes and flecks of graphite would appear and then be enlarged to become significant features, there would be stripes of sunlight and shadows that weren't there before. It was an inefficient process but I loved it for all these flaws.

Jane Boyer: Thanks Niki, that's good to hear. Your installation sounds fascinating! Yes, all the flaws, imperfections, and crudities that get magnified are exactly what makes the reprographic process so magical. I love reprography, and have some of that in my profile too, in the Versions series! I hope to do more of that soon. All the things you mention in your comment are things that will apply to PHANTOM, in regard to translating your paintings into new works, so good luck and happy folding - in whatever form that might take! I can't wait to see what you come up with...


Nigel P : This made me think of the White Stripes Lego video for Fell in Love with a Girl.... Also, fairly obviously about construction of gender, strictures of academic life drawing etc. Think it's a piece which offers a lot to unpack - as Catherine's comments suggest. Would love to see in animation, or how it looks from different angles on a plinth, could you project images onto white Lego forms..? would be great to see more.

Niki Hare: Thanks for the feedback Nigel, and for awakening me to the White Stripes vid, seriously cooL!
So little thought went into this work, I just wanted a strong image to play around with in a 3D sort of way, this nude was just pinned on the wall and fitted the bill. And so now I go back, look into the piece from a distance after I have made it. It starts to address many issues and opens many ideas, somehow I have gotten to accept that I work backwards.....I make things and then explore them deeper sometime later. I am wondering if I am maybe lucky to know very little about art eduction, I did start a degree once but copped out very soon later, it culled everything I had inside me. After riding horses for 20 yrs I came back to it, just as a fun exploration, just to play with my ideas. Much to my surprise I am now a full time artist, but I keep the same approach, just playing with ideas.
Legola will be on exhibit at the ING Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries....off the top of my head it is 17th to 29th Nov, but double check...just in case you are nearby. I am hoping they give her some space from the wall, so you can see that she has a fully functioning oven and many storage cabinets in the back.

Nigel P : Like the way you describe the making process - it chimes with my childhood memories of lego adverts and the idea of imaginative play through construction. If I can, would love to catch the exhibit - hope Legola gets a great spot!

Catherine Haley Epstein: I quite like this piece on a conceptual and material level. I wonder if this is part of a larger series on women? Or are you playing with the concept of cubism? Two artist to put on your radar - one I saw this summer at the ICA in Boston, he will be representing Canada at the Venice Biennale next summer. His name is Geoffrey Farmer. The installation was incredible. Another artist is Cynthia Lahti - she is local to the Pacific Northwest (US), and does some interesting work combining printed imagery with sculptural material in a witty and powerful way. I think you should do 20 more of these! Or have you?

Niki Hare: Hi Catherine,
Thanks for your feedback and thoughts, especially the artist pointers, both really useful and exciting.
This piece was just a one off prototype, something I have wanted to get back to and develop from....but earning a living keeps getting in the way. I think the thing with the Lego was the idea of interaction, that our perceptions and views change all the time. (At this point I must confess that I really don't think about things when I make them, I just have an idea and run with it, think about it later if at all) . Now I look back at it and see that it is much about shifts in the perception of the female form, how manipulated it all is by society and the time we live in.
Another confession, I had to glue her, that slightly destroys all the thinking on the interaction. She does have her own personal shoe box but still kept on falling apart and as she is going to exhibit herself in London I figured I had better do it to save phone calls to say she had come adrift. (ING Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London, this November)
As for the 20, no, but I have been stockpiling grubby white Lego from Ebay, I am also very tempted by the idea of a large scale Duplo version!

Catherine Haley Epstein: Yes to the large Duplo version and how fun to learn you are keeping a stash of white lego. By the way, I would not worry too much about why you are drawn to creating something. I think just doing what you are inclined to and then looking at it in hindsight is fine. You can always look in retrospect to what you have done to recognize patterns. And trust me, you can draw parallels to anything you are doing, with either contemporary artists or artists in history - we are all connected. Good luck and keep making;-)


Niki Hare: Hey Christopher,
This is just great, really fab.
I don't know what to say now because I don't really know anything about art.
Why is it that word paintings can say so much more than the words? Yeah, there is the composition, the layout, the colour, it works as an abstract painting, a clack down the middle like a note book. The narrative could work in any form, but this takes it to another level.
Anyhow, I really enjoy your work!

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