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LAST CHANCE Johnny Abrahams: Haptic Trajectories
10 November 2016
Johnny Abrahams makes exquisite, abstract acrylic-on-canvas paintings, covered edge-to-edge with endless iterations of patterned lines.
From the earliest IBM computers, which based their punch card technologies on 19th century Jacquard looms, to through to binary and bytecode weaving, technology and the fibre arts share a richly intertwined history. In Haptic Trajectories, weaving informs the visual vocabulary of American artist Johnny Abrahams as well as his process-oriented practice – but the outcome is decidedly digital. Abraham’s process is a meticulous, accretive one, not dissimilar to the way that code is built up line by line.
Abraham’s process is a meticulous, accretive one, not dissimilar to the way that code is built up line by line. Tape is used to create repetitive line patterns that are superimposed, rotated and slightly phased to destabilise the viewer; the moiré paintings suggest watered silks or the render errors in photos of a display screen. Abrahams’ paintings draw their power from a series of processing failures that result from the limitations of hardware — camera sensors, in the case of the moirés, or our own optical nerves.
He’s described his work as “focused on making the viewer the subject, emphasising the effects of his or her movement around it … In my current work, I explore what can be done with line to the exclusion of all other design elements”.
Above: Johnny Abrahams, Untitled 2; Acrylic on canvas, 2016