The recent work of Garth Weiser pursues painting as a medium for which there is no substitute—achieving an end exclusive to its properties as tactile matter.
With a duality taking form as an overlay, Weiser’s expressive, gestural underpainting simulates a diaphanous screen. The original brushwork is buried in thick paint, then partially exposed by removing consecutive rows of thin tape lying evenly spaced between its layers, allowing the original efforts to be seen like a moving object behind a fence. The texture of Weiser’s work betrays two-dimensions, calling upon our instinctual impulse to examine surfaces.
Imagine one of our Pleistocene ancestors coming upon the footprints of his next meal. He notices that sand has blown into its depressions and that the dried mud its cast in must have been made from rain just days before. Through unconscious observations, a primitive hunter ‘feels’ his prey’s location as a bodily sensation to be intuitively followed. In a sense, we ‘feel’ and interpret Weiser’s paintings as we once did footprints, as they suggest a direction to painting that is both specific and remote.
Painting holds claim to our acute sensitivity for surfaces. Just as our primitive hunter detects the most subtle indications of his prey, we discern intention and activity in Weiser’s paintings from a saturation of sensory information. Weiser's paintings have a subconscious metaphor, an internal composition, and a diffusion of orientation between the physical and the optical. The unconscious suggestions of our past observations—our inclinations towards particular associations, is present in the unbound impulsivity of Weiser’s underwork yet filtered by the discipline inherent to his process. This disguises effort behind a white noise of uniformity. The immediacy of brushwork is surrendered to gradual realization. We are required to investigate not merely how they are made but also how we understand them as objects in the physical world. In this sense, Weiser encapsulates the paradox of consciousness that is impossible to explain without presupposing it. We are left gazing at the mystery of our own cognition, the moment when we arrest our attention on the intricate nuance of its undulating surface it becomes still, yet as we drift our focus away from local areas it reactivates in a motion of delicate, optical nuance.