Wade Guyton, Untitled (THE BEST BMW 3 SERIES), 2012, ink jet on book page, 9 3/8 x 6 5/8".

Wade Guyton

Wade Guyton, Untitled (THE BEST BMW 3 SERIES), 2012, ink jet on book page, 9 3/8 x 6 5/8".

IN MY WORK, I use a number of machines and programs: ink-jet printers, scanners, Photoshop, Microsoft Word, even Safari. But I don’t think my work is really about embracing the potential of the technology or “the digital.” In fact, I’m probably underutilizing the technology. I’m more interested in how something becomes legible and meaningful as an artwork, and how it’s shaped by different languages or structures.

Not wanting to make drawings by hand, I chose Word as a substitute for the pencil. My logic was that if a pencil can draw as well as write, so should Word. (There is a drawing tool in Word already—so Microsoft and I had the same idea.) Using Word might also just reflect the larger role technology plays in our day-to-day lives. My handwriting has gotten terrible.

The files I use to make works on canvas or paper have an immaterial quality, a shape-shifting ability. They’re distributable and flexible. I can compress them or stretch them out and duplicate them. But I still make somewhat conservative objects, still use structures that are already known. I’m still relying on the architecture of bricks-and-mortar spaces to shape my works (their size is often determined by certain aspects of a room, like the height of a wall), still flipping through real books and tearing them apart to make “works on paper,” still stretching printed canvas to make paintings.

These conventional categories are put under pressure by newer technology. We could alternatively think of my paintings as photographic works or as records of activity. The execution of a file could be analogous to the performance of a score.

The computer, the printer, and the software—the language that makes the machines do what they need to do—are just what was at hand when I started these printed works. I’ve become interested in seeing how flexible—or inflexible—the language can be, or in locating concrete limits that we can push off of.