75 px shim
Stuart Goldshim
what I do

"The TV Series" - Artist Statement

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We are trained to view television as a continuous movement of recognizable images. Our eyes average all the individual light points or pixels into recognizable pictures, which seem to move in "real time" within a three-dimensional space but on a two dimensional surface. This picture, however, is in fact rarely continuous. It is constantly broken up by static interference in both transmission and reception, and by other factors both manually adjustable and intrinsic to the syntax of the medium. Since our eyes are "trained" to homogenize the overall content of the picture, we tend to ignore the split seconds when the image is disrupted.. This frozen moment, usually ignored or filtered by our mind, is the inspiration for my "TV SERIES" artworks. Imagery, rich in form, color, referential space, and distorted recognizable illusion, producing its own syntax and content far apart from any original intention.

It's been said that people rarely like to do at home what they do for a living. This was true of my father, a television repair man. By the time he got home after a long day carrying a couple of very heavy cases full of vacuum tubes, the last thing that he wanted to do was fix a television. Our house and garage were filled with televisions, and many of them just didn't work. Their pictures rolled or cycled from recognizable to totally abstract forms. As a child in the 1950’s and 1960’s, I was sometimes irritated by the fact that I couldn't always watch TV with perfect clarity the way other children could. As I grew up and started thinking about it, I realized that my experience was unique and allowed me to experience TV on many levels not experienced by many others. I was literally surrounded with this distorted television imagery and directly influenced by it.

As a graduate student in Printmaking in 1979 at San Francisco State University, I was required to produce a series of prints based around a single unifying concept. I choose to focus on Television. The initial works of what I called my "TV SERIES" therefore dealt with the relationship between individuals and commercial television. They used satire and representational imagery produced by combining traditional etching, drypoint and non-silver photo techniques. Prints were produced using televisions or screens placed in the context of the work as icons.

In 1982 I attempted to bridge the "TV SERIES" with another series of paintings I had created These were representational portraits of individuals in surreal environments. This "bridge" piece was an oil portrait of my father (The Paternal Connection). The piece showed him working on a television whose picture was broken up. The waves of the Television were to come out of the set and turn into a school of fish (when he wasn't at work, he was fishing). I had planned to use a photo emulsion, "develop" a photo of a television image on the canvas for the screen area and then paint around it. After much thought, I decided however, that it would be a greater challenge to attempt to allude to this kind of visual syntax using a traditional medium such as oil, acrylic or even colored pencil. I did a series of studies for the portrait and proceeded to get completely lost in the imagery and syntax of television. As I worked through some of the studies, the series evolved. I found myself drawn away from viewing the TV set and its relationship to society and toward looking at how the viewer perceives the rather unique syntax and quality of the video image itself. I discovered that interrupted or maladjusted commercial TV images, purposefully or randomly frozen, could be a remarkable source of imagery. Before I finally finished the portrait of my father, I had done more then 20 pieces focusing on this television syntax. After the portrait was complete, I felt even a greater desire to explore this imagery and still do to this day.

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