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Light Switches and Text

Throughout the house, there are seventeen switch plates, all but two bear a single switch, these outliers feature three switches of relative similarity, and two identical ones respectively. The switches throughout the house might be categorized within one of two types, as distinguished by the size of the opening of their faceplates: either a large or small centralized vertical rectangle. The majority of the faceplates featuring larger rectangular openings hold rocker style switches. Every one of these switches was installed after our taking possession of the house; all of them can be found on the first floor of the house. There are two other switches that fit this type of faceplate. One variety - of which there are two switches present in the house - is the dimmer switch which I previously described; the other is a solitary timer switch that controls a light on our porch. This switch features a small lcd panel display within the top half of the rectangular opening of the switch plate, while the lower half maintains a relative similarity to the other rocker switches throughout the house, only perhaps slightly more pronounced, and with a slight curvature. The switches that accompany the faceplates with smaller openings fit one of two styles: the classic toggle switch, and the more dated small black rocker, which I have also already described. There are three types of toggle switch that are differentiated by small, faint markings. The first is blank and has no markings, the second has a small embossed dot on one half of the base of the toggle, and the final example has the words ON and OFF embossed on either side.

Like doors and windows (and I suppose like green painter’s tape as well) I find myself documenting light switches and electrical outlets fairly frequently as well. These interfaces again carry a similar sort of measurable spatial differentiation of exchange or passage with which I find myself regularly engaged. One individual avenue that has opened out from this particular thread is that of the inclusion of text. There is an exciting potential in the inclusion of, or focus on text in painting that’s presence has been varyingly absent throughout my practise, no doubt informed by the fact of my relative illiteracy. Nevertheless it is something that I revisit from time to time, but rarely share. One exciting way that text has found its way into more recent, as well as laid a framework for more generative text-focused work is through found text; an example of which is of course the light switch.

An aspect specific to the light switch that I enjoy is the mirroring of function provided by the text. The switch plate with a double opening that I previously mentioned holds two ON-OFF-bearing toggles, however they are mounted horizontally, so that the upright position of the switches’ text, along with their function, might alternate across both ON-OFF, and ON-NO. The duality of the message again echoing the interface as both a vehicle for transition, as well as a sort of sentimental rorschach for its observer; a plausible deniability of my direct authorship of the scenario - again talking about myself, without talking about myself.


I’d like to thank the Gathered Gallery again for generously entrusting me with this space over the last month. This is the most I’ve written in some time, and I’ve found it to be a refreshing way to revisit, reconsider, and recategorize some elements of my painting practise. I hope that you found it interesting enough to absorb, and I'd like to thank anyone who's taken the time to make their way through the jumbled mess I've produced here. I hope you were able to glean some useful insight, whether about my work, or my weird house, or otherwise.


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