In new paintings, video, and 35mm slide installation works — inspired by the invention of the whiteboard in the 1950s by photographer Martin Heit who realized his notes with permanent ink could be erased from film negatives — Town draws his attention to concepts of memory, tracing/retracing, recording, erasure, and reproduction, especially in relationship to documentary and portraiture. Town’s subjects and subject matter in PORTRAITS arise from personal encounters in his daily life, which often mirror or reflect upon wider social concerns and frequently incorporate collaborative and collective processes.
Acrylic and chalkboard paint on canvas works from the series “CRITIQUE” (2015-2018) can be seen as portraits of an anonymous artist’s artwork and the collective critiques and thoughts it raised in a 20-member introductory MFA class. The imagery of the paintings replicates the notes written by the professor on the whiteboard — as well as furniture and other objects in the classroom — and is based on the photographs taken by each presenting student of their “board”, but with the colors inverted.
These digital snapshots of the whiteboards appear in a 35mm slide installation “620231582114418541620518129651815151361518124”, a work that discloses the process behind the paintings and the original colors of text and boards, and connects them to a specific place and time. The titles of the paintings and slide installation include a coded string of numbers each corresponding to a letter of the alphabet, which the artist invites us to decode.