Duration: 3 hours, on loop
Kyle Scheurmann on Riverbody:
"I used to make animated flipbooks when I was a kid with a pencil and cheap computer paper. By high school, I was borrowing my grandma’s scanner and making shorthand drawn animations in QuickTime. By university, I’d enrolled in “New Media” animation classes.
I’ve always wanted to make my drawings and painting move.
So many of the painters I loved while growing up made paintings that were animated in my mind. Like Alex Colville, whose paintings I’d invent entire narratives to, imaging that the scene in the painting continued to unfold after the freeze frame he chose to paint. Or Marcel Dzama, whose drawings already looked like they were isolated frames from longer, line-drawing animations, before I saw them come to life in music videos.
As my recent paintings have become increasingly populated with people, animals, floods, and fires, I am constantly imagining them becoming alive with movement. When I think about newly finished paintings, they appear in my mind as paintings hung on a wall with static compositions, textures and lustres. However, the protagonists are free to come and go as they please.
I have been experimenting with digital projections directly onto oil paintings, both to add animated motion and to isolate or amplify different parts of the painting with light - but there’s a long way to go with the developing process. However - as a result of these experiments - I have started to learn how to manipulate my paintings and animations specifically for the screen in ways that aren’t possible with physical materials. Layering and opacity stay vibrant and immediate on the screen, and although the texture of the painting becomes flattened in the backlight, the tradeoff is clarity and saturation. There are things that are possible on a screen that aren’t possible in paint and vice verse. I see potential in both exports.
So when starting out to make a painted animation exclusively for a digital screen, it feels important to keep as many steps of the process as analogue as possible. In this newest work, all frames are painted with oil on paper. The background painting is oil on linen. I have done no manipulation to the original frame rate as I drew it, or to the perspective or cropping of the animated water and figure. These images are just as they appear on each painted paper frame.
However, once the frames and background painting are digitally scanned and layered together in After Effects with all the proper registration, they provide a platform for new creative play in colour, saturation and overlay in order to get the most out of a glowing 4K screen.
With a well-made frame and the right brightness setting, it becomes a portal into a living painted world."