Dressed four sides is a term used in the building industry to describe timber that has been planed on all four sides. The term dressed four sides can, in this case, refer to the way in which the paintings perform a dressing function within a room.

These paintings are about walls. Their structure and construction mimics the process in which architectural walls are assembled but they don't attempt to collapse the distinction between painting and wall. They are separate portable models.

The paintings are conceived within the traditions of easel painting and in particular emphasise the miniaturization, portability and commodification that characterize, within the history of painting, the move from the wall to the easel/stretcher. many of the works are modest, almost average in their scale and are constructed of cedar and marine plywood with attention to the professional codes of painting practice.
The tiny balsa wood pieces within this series are an obsessive overstatement of the conventions of stretcher construction. They are an example of 'function follows form' - their system of construction mimics the above mentioned professional codes of painting practice.

This series of works explores colour within the field of interior design. The paintings refer to the swatches, charts and samples of colour we use in order to make a decision about the colour a room will be painted. The titles, as is the convention with colour charts, imply a 'theme' and an association with nature - in this case citrus and tropical fruits. The term peel is used not only for its link to fruit but its description of the process of peeling prints off each painted surface.

The process of pulling a mono print from the final layer of paint on the panel splits the single work into two equally important surfaces. The same colour is then read within two separate contexts - on the original panel, as part of an accumulation of layers and colour, and as a separate facsimile of the original surface, isolated on glass. The combination of tackiness of the paint medium and the suction created between two surfaces disrupts the carefully controlled painting.

The transparent glass surface that suspends the prints allows the viewer to see through to the stretcher construction beneath the surface. This construction corresponds exactly with the stretcher beneath the plywood panel. These works are models that anticipate the variety of contexts in which they are consumed. they are manufactured with an overstated awareness of the critical and historical contexts of fine are painting and also painting's relationship with the domestic site - the enclosure in which much painting is placed : the home, the room - the four walls that we dress.

Published within: Dressed Four Sides (2003)

Images and text © Noel Ivanoff.