The exhibition name Digitalis takes its title from the genus of which the Foxglove is the most well known. The scientific name of Digitalis means ‘finger-like’, and the title evokes the manual skills and crafts of the ‘traditional painter’, as well as directly referring to the digital. The exhibition aims to explore issues surrounding the increasing proliferation and use of digital technologies within both the visual arts and the wider social context. Digitalis focuses on the work of three painters who are navigating different routes within the ‘expanded field’ or new hybridised practice that is painting. The exhibition melds both high technological expertise and the use of the traditional, ‘analogue‘, skills and crafts that have been aligned with painting throughout it’s history. The artists included in this exhibition regard the various digital tools and technologies available with ambivalence, and a morbid curiosity manifests itself in the work by shifting between a kind of forensic material fact and flights of unfolding fictions.
Rick Copsey also combines both painting and digital photography in his work, the initial impetus for making comes from the 'modernist utopian grid' and an interest in materiality, manufacture and textiles. Copsey has used photography to forensically document his painting, and he also employs digital software to generate compositions and has printed these directly onto canvas and also reworked through paint. A referencing to the materiality of painting is tempered by a visuality, yielded through a confusing variety of technical strategies, to create a virtually ambiguous space.
David Manley has remained wedded to the image, and that image is one of the landscape. The work employs both painting and digital photography to explore ways of visualising memories of particular places. The use of digital technology lends an ability to meld representation and abstraction echoing the mental processes of recall - synthesising and fusing to produce a sense of place. The results are painting/drawing/photograph combines that appear as a kind of residue that is fragments rather than a collection of separate parts - the repetition of processes culminating in a congealed trace.
John Rimmer has recently extended his practice from exclusively working on canvas to employing laser-cutting technologies and video. Strategies previously employed on canvas such as collage, appropriation, and locating the work between figuration and abstraction, have been transferred and co-opted in video. The work continues to visualise contemporary notions of agency or the self, but with the source material and subject matter shifting from busy public locations to the virtual worlds of the internet and television.