a treatise of paintings by G R Thomson
ANACHROMISMS (R2 SERIES)
Multiple original digital prints (MODP): some speculations on the occasion of ‘Disseminar’, 23.04.2006
No work exists in isolation. The most discernable reference for the accompanying ‘MODP’ is the ensemble of paintings dating from 1987 that bears the generic name ‘Anachromisms’.
Each study in the ensemble comprises no fewer than two paintings, each square in format. The gap or ‘coupure’ between the paintings unsettles the notion of wholeness, a privileged value of much cultural production. At the same time this ‘coupure’ will be regarded as constituting the very possibility of unity. The pictorial space of each painting is divided into two elements: framed and framing. We might call this an ‘echoic’ moment. The framing element is always centrally placed and of a darker tone than the framed element. (See illustration above.) The degree of tonal difference is contingent upon the deployment of a colour programme and can be extreme or minimal. A colour programme can be imagined as having a minimum of two actors or ‘fundamental colours’ e.g. red and white, and a maximum of four, e.g. black, white, red and green. Despite the appellation and the temptations of metaphysical convenience, these ‘fundamental colours’ can no more be read as ‘primary colours’ than can Mondrian’s myriad reds, yellows and blues. Nor are they reducible to the kind of pigmental particularism sometimes appealed to by a certain school of fundamentalist materialism. The question of what exactly is a ‘fundamental colour’ will here be regarded as metaphysical in essence, and as such will be left begging. Suffice to say for now that each actor is granted equal weight and value. The fewer fundamental colours, the more readily discernable the structure. In the illustration above the central element in each image occupies 25% of the total area. In the image on the left the remaining 75% is occupied by red at 100% saturation. In the image on the right, the remaining 75% of the area is occupied by red at 33.3% saturation. We can imagine that this has been achieved by exchanging 25% of the red which would otherwise have occupied 100% of the image on the left for 25% of the white which would otherwise have occupied 100% of the image on the right. The pink framing element in the image on the right would thus be the result of mixing red and white in a ratio of one part of the former to two parts of the latter. In the case of Anachromisms, colour is regarded as at play within a regulated economy. No element can be altered without the attendant, systematic alteration of all other elements.
The play of difference, which both links and sunders these images, takes place within
an economy regulated by principles of fair exchange. The play of colour-
Contrary to appearance, the work [on paper] presented here remains as yet ungraced
by a name. Irreducibly framed by Anachromisms, it nevertheless announces a departure
from, and a reframing of Anachromisms. The notion of ‘two-
The use of a computer enables the drawing parameters to be set up within an application
programme that has the ability to image for output to the inkjet printer to an accuracy
of four decimal points. The work displayed here is printed at a resolution of 1440
x 720 dots per inch (DPI), the highest of which the printer is capable. None of this
is achievable by more traditional methods. The templates for the later Anachromisms
were already printed on large-
Neither ‘computer art’ nor painting ‘as we know it’, these works propose a re-
Lyotard, writing approvingly of the work of the painter Albert Ayme, has suggested
that his method of layering discrete ‘primary’ colours accords with the spatio-
To the extent that it is textual, no work exists in isolation. The accompanying prints
retrospectively frame and displace that which precedes them. The simplistic chronology
that underpins readings under the seminal influence rings hollow. But can the tableaux
be turned? Is it possible to hazard a post-
© G R Thomson, London, 2000-
The grouping of works collectively called ‘ANACHROMISMS’ (MODP) and any accompanying text(s) are dedicated to the memory of Malcolm Hughes and Jean Spencer.
Technical note on digital prints
Application programs: Freehand 5 (Works on Paper); Quark XPress 6.5 (Documentation Layout); AppleWorks 6 Spreadsheet Component (Calculating engine for proportional rectangles).
CPU: Apple Macintosh PowerBook Portable, Motorola G4 microprocessor running at 1GHz,
512MB RAM, 60GB hard disk, CDRW-
Output (hard copy proofing): Epson Stylus 2000P Photo A3+ inkjet printer, Epson six-
Output (electronic): Standard built-