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The first extensive body of work by O’Malley to attract significant critical attention, which she embarked upon in 2003, is a case in point.This was a series of what she refers to as ‘video-paintings’, a term that signaled early on a willingness to confound inherited categories and to dispense with any fidelity to the specificity of a given medium.
The work is projected onto a screen of stretched canvas painted black in a blacked out room such that the viewer is enveloped in almost total darkness, save for the shifting cone of projected light, which effectively mimics the original movements of the torch.
Yet O’Malley seems no less interested in dark spots – or indeed blind spots – than in bright ones, as we can see from a pendant work, , made the following year, in 2008.
In these works an image derived from video footage shot by the artist, but belonging more properly to a traditional genre of painting – landscape, streetscape, interior – is painted onto a canvas support, leaving certain details and sections of the picture blank.
The looped original footage is then projected onto the partially painted canvas.
This is a five- minute video loop projected onto a rectangular panel of MDF on which a large, slightly off-centre stain has been painted in black oil paint, which corresponds to an obscured area of the projected imagery produced by placing a black piece of paper in front of the camera lens while filming.
In this instance, a similarly wayward camera surveys the cluttered interior of an antique shop as well as the open vistas of a tree-filled public park.
Rosalind Krauss argued many years ago that a crucial characteristic of early video is a collapsing of time and an attenuation of space, which she subsumed under the rubric of ‘autoreflection’ or ‘mirror reflection’, though she did not intend the latter term to refer literally to the deployment and/or representation of mirrored surfaces.
Rather she likened the ‘vanquishing of separateness’ she discerned in certain works by Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman and Lynda Benglis to ‘facing mirrors on opposite walls [that] squeeze out the real space between them’Krauss was at pains to distinguish the auto-reflection characteristic of early video, its constitutive ‘narcissism’, which she found problematic, from the self-reflexiveness of modernist painting, which she found commendable.
as opaque, transparent or reflective; as something to be looked at, looked through, or both simultaneously, in effect.
Regarding stained glass in particular she has the following to add to the remark already quoted: 'I read somewhere about how stained glass, as well as provoking interiority, is difficult to read, as our eyes are meant to make sense of light falling them.