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Painting (MA)

Ian Douglass

Ian Douglass (b. Chicago, IL. USA) is an artist and writer based in London. His practice encompasses painting, drawing, writing, performance, installation, and sound.

Ian completed dual degrees of History and Industrial Design at Parsons the New School for Design and Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts in New York City. Before relocating to London, he participated in group exhibitions in Los Angeles, California, a residency in a desert oasis outside of Marrakech, Morocco, and collaborative painting-performances and installations in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He was also the first artist-in-residency at the Wyl Castle and its next door prison in Switzerland, culminating in his first solo show Hallucinations from the Castle's Prison.

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesPainting (MA)RCA2023 at Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery, F Block, Ground, first and second floors

An invisibility shield hides a shy shrine in front of a large black velvet painting with a checkerboard pattern vanishing into ø

My practice lives in the space between theory and dream. A self-cannibalizing research process seeps into the artifact. Information implodes into fever dream.

In the past two years, my deep dive into the subgenre of velvet painting explored the contradictions of velvet as both holy material and low-brow painting surface. Infused with saturated color on a dense backdrop, these works contemplate dichotomies of gender, shame / pleasure, luxury / deficit, and technological development / dissociation. Ranging across disparate bodies of work, the history of velvet painting is referenced yet razed, implicitly and explicitly, from kitsch cartoon cowboy-ballerinas to velvet Vanitas.

This led me to realize that velvet painting is an act of desecration: violence towards the sacred.

On the surface, this line of inquiry can be read as a critique of value hierarchies and their structural violence; the dark side of modern progress and its externalities, extracting Earth into inanimate resource. But as I reached towards a velvet theory, any central locus began to unravel, spinning into erotically charged and neurotically charred abstractions of some eternally elusive elucidation…

Velvet took me to a different place, yet harbored home for a deeper wellspring of my becoming…

The presence-in-absence of the black velvet, its vibrating volcanic hum, its black beyond binaries. A conjuring, a cosmogony of sci-fi horror, dark, sinister, French louche elegance, a mystical, occult, sexual and consciousness-bending conspiracy of psychedelic violence.

The future can be attained through the ancient. An animistic and alchemical practice negotiates the limits of perception and what occurs behind, beneath or within.

The diagrams required to produce a religious scripture or a digital code, the technology of an invisibility shield or a consciousness device, when the advanced practice approaches the mystical, when ritual and management coagulate to produce a seamless impossibility, then, maybe, I can offer a fragmented glimpse into the immutable.

The dust speaks in tongues.

A large black oval with glittering fragments of crystal and gold
Arcana Front view
A large black oval with glittering fragments of crystal and gold
3/4 view & detail
Neon green and pink soldier arms reach for a gun, black velvet opens up to show ritual dance in fire and fields of deathsmoke
The Drugs on WarOil, spray paint and bismuth crystal on velvet • 106 x 76 cm
A movie poster for SOYBOY, 'this summer beta bites back' a floating red cloud with eye and circular diagram of reincarnation
SOYBOYOil, spray paint, bismuth crystal and velvet on velvet • 150 x 120 cm
Glowing neon green and green velvet behind cut black velvet illuminate a jungle at night
99.9%Spray paint and velvet on velvet • 106 x 76 cm
Highway lights go into the center of black velvet and the sky opens to reveal pink and gold psychedelic glowing flowers
Nighttide HighwaySpray paint and bismuth crystal on velvet • 106 x 106 cm
Red velvet stained with a deep black, using Ferrofluid
Untitled (Space Desecration)
Process image of applying Ferrrofluid's deep shiny black to red velvet, seeing black paint jump from red velvet to magnet
Process detail Using magnets to paint with ferrrofluid's deep black on red velvet. Ferrofluid is a liquid with magnetic suspension, originally developed by NASA to move liquid around in zero gravity.
Red velvet shrines through black velvet cut out exposing the eye of a creature somewhere in the recesses of the mind
Cowllerina ConjuringSpray paint, velvet and crystal-dipped pins on velvet • 150 x 120 cm
Cowboy-ballerina in hat on unicorn stops just before the edge of cliff figures painted with ink skies spray paint on pink velvet
Precipice Spray paint and ink on velvet • 106 x 76 cm
A smoking cowboy ballerina wearing red gloves looks behind their back at two menacing presences behind them in the distance
Saloon SceneOil on velvet • 68 x 31 cm
Ink drips on pink velvet depict a dancing cowboy ballerina, one hand on gun, full of movement
Sweating BulletsInk on velvet • 106 x 76 cm
Details of crystals floating in space
Details of crystal emerging from painting, cosmic, next to oily multicolored psychedelic oil paint
Flays of oil paint and crystal upon black velvet
Projection mapping of crystal and red shining oil paints and crystals into the wall in an industrial warehouse space
Projection mapping of paintings in space, blue oil paint projected onto wall and crystal projected behind it
A single crystal resembles an alien alligator's face, floating on black velvet
A slab of bismuth glowing all colors, especially purple, lays on a bed of purple velvet, awaiting use
An orb of black tourmaline and a small stone on blue velvet in the studio next to a crystal, brush and tabasco hot sauce
Detail of copper painting glowing red gold and sandy with green and blue oxidization from tabasco sauce showing alien body forms
paint drips down a wall showing a can of paint from top view and murky, shiny black acrylic dripped on pens and an exhibitionpic
Pencil marks scribble words in French above an intense red painted detail of a velvet sleeve of sorts on white clear canvas