Paul’s ART STUFF on a Train # 101: ‘I Fink it’s a Face’

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Graham Fink (at Riflemaker to 21 March) is a pareidolian: he sees faces all over the place. That’s picked up in witty photographs which land somewhere between gestalt and abstraction by discovering visages in peeling walls, clouds and rock formations etc. True, I’ve seen that done before, but the surprising variety and specificity which Fink discovers gives his images an extra dimension. He displays a selection of these on monumentalising slabs of marble. Fink finds it natural to draw faces, and has taken to doing so using only his eyes, into which an infrared light is shone in a development of marketing researchers’ well-established eye tracking technology, as used to find out what attracts the viewer of an advert. To date he’s ‘drawn’ those faces mainly from his imagination, but I caught him essaying a portrait using the technique, which makes more sense to me: the act of looking is translated directly into a representation made with no ‘middle man’ in the form of hands. Impressive as Fink’s abilities are given the method, the drawings look hesitant and scratchy, even when they, too, are given marble import. There’s something alluring about the directness achieved, though, which makes one wonder whether some sort of essence is being revealed. In his spare time, incidentally, Fink is Chief Creative Officer for China at the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather – and his most famous advert sees hundreds of people form… a face.

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Most days art critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in London. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?

About Paul Carey-Kent

Art critic and curator, based near Southampton. I write most regularly for Art Monthly, Frieze, Elephant, State, Photomonitor... and, of course, FAD.