Staniak’s experimental, digital media-inspired paintings explore process, materiality, and abstraction in a digital era. He describes himself as a post-Internet artist, someone whose work is informed by the act of surfing the web and engaging in its aesthetics. Generally speaking, Staniak’s work concentrates on the changing images in the digital culture and it is process-oriented. The work oscillates between a sensation of a flat, screen-mediated image and the rich texture of an analog painting.
To create his paintings, he builds up textural surfaces out of materials such as casting compound that he then sprays with acrylic paint, creating subtle gradients of texture color with minor stippling that evoke the effects of inkjet printers.
For Staniak, the life of the painting both as object and image is crucial. “I consider the finished work as a moment in my practice; something to be considered and valued as an object that will ultimately end up as another picture entering the stream of the internet,” he has said. (1)
“Michael Staniak’s hypnotic and textured surfaces act as a portal to a post-digital world, one in which we inhabit both physical and virtual spheres, and reflect on the issues this archival existence can entail. Gently undulating contours shimmer enticingly, redolent of the implied tactility of a touchscreen.” (2)
The aesthetic behind Staniak’s works is soft and delicate, but it nevertheless keeps the viewer’s eye stimulated because of the variety of subtle changes in acrylic colors and textures. Even though Michael Staniak creates his paintings by hand, they resemble flat digital prints – we have to view his works up close in order to perceive minute textures and the sense of depth. However, some of his paintings use digital processes and in this way establish the dialogue between analog acrylic work and digital modes of production. The artist’s works explore an entirely new direction in painting which is strongly influenced by current technologies, such as touch pads, smart phones, personal computers and of course the omnipresent Internet. (3)
Staniak’s paintings and sculptures are physical, tactile and hand-made but refer to and operate at the crossover of online and offline formats, of technology and plasticity. In an environment where computer generated imagery and electronic transmission has become the visual vernacular and way of seeing, he and his generation of artists are using, commenting on, imitating and finding inspiration for their pictorial worlds in digital technologies. (4)
1.Jasmine Lark. Michael Staniak. 2014. Source: Widewalls https://www.widewalls.ch/artist/michael-staniak/
3.Jasmine Lark. Michael Staniak. 2014. Source: Widewalls https://www.widewalls.ch/artist/michael-staniak/
4.Barbara Dowse. Slow Pictures, 2014. Source: https://artereal.com.au/exhibition/slow-pictures/