Harm van den Dorpel’s Texture Mapping works are minimal, starkly-outlined cube sculptures whose high-gloss surfaces each depict abstract images reading to the viewer as “painterly.”
The “painterly-ness” of each image, though, is mutated by the de-texturing (or mapping of texture) accompanying one’s view of their subject matter through the glossy “screen” of transparent acrylic which functions as the surface of each cube.
The result is less the experience of viewing a painting first-hand (as in, say, a museum) and more the experience of viewing a painting remotely (as through, say, the screen of a computer).
In the process of describing the experience of textural remoteness, however, van den Dorpel creates a short-circuit to a whole new type of texture:
That of virtual space.
He does so in at least two ways:
(1.) Van den Dorpel’s technique in these works is to paint on the surface of the acrylic which—in the final product—will be viewed as the inside (as opposed to the, more traditional, outside) of the cube sculpture.
One’s view of the painting process is, thus, reversed.
The first layers of paint applied to the surface are the most visible and everything else is masked through, not overpainting, but underpainting.
The virtual presence of this painting’s absence is, thus, activated.
(2.) Similarly, the mobility of the relatively very light cubes and their subsequent malleability into almost instantaneous re-arrangement nudge the viewer’s understanding of the work’s physical “presence” away from, say, the mass and volume of Minimalist cubes and closer to the virtual 3D space of Second Life.