Paintings of god 神画
What is 神画 or paintings of god? The Secrets of Mother Nature Exhibition now at NUSS Guild House at Kent Ridge(22 Oct – 21 Dec) is about a new photopainting art form. I have developed this technique after many years of experimentation. It is called the Art of RAR or Reflection and Refraction. It involves the taking of invisible images in the water and turning them into paintings.
Such paintings have never been done or seen before. It is about a photograph but not a photograph, a painting but not a painting, an original but not. It is not computer graphic art or animation. It is a hybrid of a photograph and a painting created not by a human artist but by Mother Nature, or god in a liberal sense. It is painted by a human artist but it is not. Let me explain this new art form before I confuse everyone.
Why is it a photograph but not a photograph?
A photograph is the product of an image taken by a camera of an object. There is a direct object image relationship. In this art form an object is photographed using the camera. But the image captured is not that of the object. The object is simply water in a pond and nothing else. The image can be anything, looking anything other than water. The image is inherent in the water but is not visible to the naked eye and needed some processing to reveal what it really is, and definitely not the water that it originally appeared when being photographed.
It is a painting but not a painting
A conventional painting is normally painted by an artist onto paper or canvas with ink, pigment, water colour, oil, crayon etc. The painting in this case is printed by a printer and can be pigment, ink or oil. It has some similarities with a conventional painting in the sense that it came from an artist’s idea or thought. The difference is that this idea or concept comes from the thought of Mother Nature and can only be captured by a camera before being translated into a visible form.
It is the original but not the original.
The real original of a painting created by this method is invisible, is fluid and is in the water, and vanishes the moment it is photographed and would never be seen again. This original concept exists in a different plane, like a human thought. Thus the painting in print form can be called the original as it is the only available arising from the first thought in the water.
It is not computer graphic art or animation
The painting comes from a digital image of a camera. It only goes through some processing that are similar to darkroom processes, eg brightness, contrast, colour, sharpness, intensity, brilliance etc. There may be some touching up of spots or removal of minor blemishes. No major alteration of the image is done. The authenticity of the digital image is preserved and can be easily returned to the original form with the hitting of the reset button.
It is painted by a human artist but it is not
The conceptualizing of the painting is done by Mother Nature. Everything is already there and the contribution of the human artist, the photopainter, is to assist in bringing out the details of the painting that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. The photopainter, the human artist, can only do what is already present in the original image and does not introduce new or additional elements into the paintings. As the possibilities of each image are quite varied, the photopainter could interpret it in many ways and there is no certainty that the image in print is exactly what Mother Nature intended. This is the part played by the human photopainter, introducing some subjectivity into the final form.
In summary, every painting created by this technique is conceived and designed by god or Mother Nature, photographed and fine tuned by a photopainter. It is a photograph turned into a painting with Nature doing the bulk of the creative part of the work. The photopainter just collaborates with Mother Nature and the final work is the effort of both parties with Mother Nature playing the bigger role.
This art form or technique is intrinsically a Singaporean creation.
Chua Chin Leng - Photopainter