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Daniel Marsh 

All Ready Made 

Leah Bartlett & Hannah Phillips interviewed Daniel Marsh on his latest exhibition at Existential House over a series of conversations. 


Q. What made you decide on bunting as a motif? 

A. “Using bunting as a motif gave me a variety of factors to comment on about the discipline of Painting. Bunting is a flat surface on which bright colour exists, so gave opportunity for this to be repeated with saturated paint. Its flatness also highlights the restrictions of paint applied to a surface. Bunting is typically hung, as a painting is hung too. It requires the support of string or elastic, as painting does to canvas and stretcher. The motif developed as a way to substitute these conventions for a repeatable way of paintings.”

Q. When did you begin to think that sculpture and installation had begun to have more relevancy than painting? 

A. “I’ve never really held one form of art as more relevant or valuable than another. But I do think there is a version of pluralism apparent in the work, which came to fruition after the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 50s & 60s. The term pluralism implies anything can be considered art and that anything can feasibly be exhibited in a space. Other disciplines benefit from pluralism, could be seen as ‘dead’. Painting must maintain its material identity to be agreeably defined as a painting. Actual bunting, made from card or fabric , could be shown in the exhibition, but rendering the motif in paint entices the viewer to analyse the material choices made. The exhibition attempts to contribute to new discourse about contemporary painting, in light of what has already been made. “

Q. In the text you say the painting exists as an object/ready made rather than a painting, could you elaborate on this idea and explain the reasoning for why or what has changed about this painting for it to be considered an object rather than a painting? 

A. “I think the positioning the painting on the floor pronounces its ‘abject’ qualities as well as ‘object’ qualities. For me, hanging the painting on the wall would’ve drawn attention to the 2-D surface as opposed to the whole of the canvas – it also would distract from the sensibilities of installation that the bunting has if the work were mounted to the wall.

I think the title of the work explores some of these ideas too. ‘The Slow Death of Painting ‘was the title of an essay I wrote at university – which explores ways in which post-pluralist paintings manifest themselves in different spaces. Artist such as Katherine Grosse for example in her late 90s works were of real interest. “


Q. Would you say that the concept of pluralism served as an inspiration for this exhibition? & What are your main inspirations behind your artworks in general?

A. “In my practice, I’d say I’m mostly drawn to the city and derelict man-made environment. And music too, in particular how pieces are titled. I find it difficult to title my work – so often look to how musicians attribute verbal meaning to audio through a title – these are the main thing i'll return to for influence. 

And yes, I think pluralism influenced this exhibition, as well as my practice as a whole. I’m interested in the limitations and boundaries of paint and when it becomes an object, and in my studio currently , I am working with methods of casting to use paint as a sculptural medium to make objects.”

Q. If you had to choose a song to accompany the exhibition what would it be?

A. “With Music, I suppose I find motivation rather than inspiration. Making the work is as important as exhibiting and curating, and certain piece of music help to impose and focus in the studio. It's mostly a way to enter a flow state to make work in the studio. 

Certain songs, or artworks, create an impulse to make something; some paintings make artists want to paint. But if I has to choose a song, I would say Control by Stereolab. It’s a song I was listening to a lot when making the bunting. It loops and repeats riffs to create a collective noise, which gives me that impulse to make things. I suppose the bunting is also made from individual parts to create a collective – but that may just be a coincidence!”


Q. What could people expect to see from your artwork in the future? Or maybe if you had any specific goals for where you wanted to take your practice? 


A. “In terms of what’s next, I’ll continue with the use of bunting as a symbol to portray these ideas about painting – maybe experimenting with different positions or spaces that the bunting can exist in. I have some ideas for other exhibitions that hopefully come to fruition at some point in the future”


Q. What does art mean to you? 


A. “For me, and with this show in particular, I found meaning in how people perceived the work in different ways. I went into the show with my own ideas and intentions, sure, but seeing other people describe what they thought was really enlightening. 


There were ideas I’d not thought of, but we’re still suitable, such as the bunting being a washing line and the paint is hung on it to dry. Or, how the holes in some of the paint skins create small viewpoints to look through – it has been a great learning experience. It makes me want to continue with it as a way of making and explore these avenues more with work in the future.”

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