Selected for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition exhibition 2016, Speechless by William Grob and Remains Taunton by Michael Tarr both utilise cut and paste methodologies made popular by the hip-hop generation of the eighties and nineties.
William Grob paints on top of photographs, accentuating aspects of the image which he deems to be noticed. By integrating gouache into this process of re-appropriation, the artist underlines the enormous potential of water-based mediums for experimentation and use alongside/over the top of other materials (in this case photography). Simply by adding or reducing the amount of water mixed with paint, artists have the ability to control transparency levels, making watercolour, gouache and acrylic ideal for the creation of layered, post-modern compositions like Speechless. Reflecting on the hybrid of materials in his work, William Grob said that ‘photography holds as many lies as truths so by synthesising painting with my photographs, I project a visualisation that captures both the instant, and the immortal. The real and the surreal.’
Whilst Grob employs cut and paste techniques within his creative process, Michael Tarr documents cut and paste as a symptom of contemporary popular culture. In Remains Taunton, Tarr depicts a billboard layered with adverts; corners of posters curled over and elements torn away to reveal multiple images beneath. Much like James Rosenquist, Tarr seems to allude to the dizzying omnipresence of the consumer world.
Whether through process or subject matter, both William Grob and Michael Tarr have presented watercolour in a fresh and exciting light; providing a socio-political commentary and positioning watercolour painting within the wider contemporary and urban art landscape.