Section 4 - Notes on YES and NO
4.0 Take Rosalie Gascoigneís 1999 work, Great Blond Paddocks, (3 panels, sawn wooden soft-drink crates on wood, 120 x 350 cm). What is recognised in this work by a viewer? There are two recognisable things, the material and strategy of the Japanese art of ikebana, and the bleached textures of the fields of extensive pastoralism, probably in Australia.
4.1 Is Gascoigne imitating or representing, and if the latter, what is she representing?There are two possibilities.
4.2 Either: Great Blond Paddocks reveals the gap between sign and signified, reveals these two components of meaning in their de-lamination, so that all of the sign, the signified, and the delamination, are apprehended in the work. You are made to see these three things. The machined soft-drink crate materials, desiccated and recycled, and their formal, regular composition in three panels are an obviousness in the work, as one pole. The name of the painting is also obvious, Great Blond Paddocks, and is another pole. The viewer/reader, in seeing both poles, participates in a flow of attention from physical object to an aspect of the regional world.
4.3 Or: Great Blond Paddocks is a language-game in which there is a reversal of resemblance such that the Great Blond Paddocks that we know of in Australia at least are held to be a signifier of the Gascoigne work, not the other way around. The Gascoigne does not resemble the paddocks. The paddocks resemble the Gascoigne. They cast an interpretive light on the triptych. The reader/viewer participates in a flow of attention from an aspect of the regional world to the Gascoigne physical object.
4.4 Great Blond Paddocks is therefore a work of representation, since in the normal sense of the term a work of imitation is a work that does not reveal itself but rather effaces itself or becomes transparent and reveals the object of imitation. It serves to participate in a one-way flow of attention, to appropriate the prestige of that which is imitated. Imitation is representationís subset.††
4.5 In this Gascoigne so much depends upon the near-regularly sawn soft drink crates.
4.6 What is represented in Great Blond Paddocks is the sensuous mechanics of meaning.