Wayne Toepp: Surveillance Stills This body of work engages the twin notions of watching and being watched. I am examining images collected from the continual data stream of the expanding security environment that we move through in our daily comings and goings. The surveillance state has indeed arrived, attended by an ever more rapidly diminishing sphere of privacy.
There is a telescopic relationship to time that also informs these works. The source image is a photograph of an image on a live feed video surveillance monitor essentially a low resolution video still. The process of painting these instantaneously captured images is, on the other hand, extraordinarily slow. This generates a frisson as these two radically different conceptions of time are merged in the painted image.
I attempt to remain faithful to the bland neutrality of the captured video image as I work with it in the studio. While the process of rendering the greatly enlarged images in oil paint is keyed to this neutral opticality, there is an inexorable quality of seductive beauty in the surveillance source images themselves that becomes explicit on the painted surface. The paintings function, visually and conceptually, as screens on which the momentary appearance of people in various public spaces is recorded.
If art is a process of pointing, it must register and account for that which it is pointing toward. I have chosen to examine, at some length, images culled from actual surveillance video because I would like the viewer to register both the disintegration of privacy and the implications of surveillance technology in the current political climate.