“The notion of any artistic practice being open to automatic expression is arguably a dubious one; just how much control can be relinquished while writing, or drawing, or dripping isn’t clear.”
Albert Mobilio, Automatic Transmission: Drawing Surrealism, Hyperallergic.com, March 2, 2013
This project explores notions of agency, identity and authenticity in the context of an objectivized framing of a putatively subjective activity. It takes Surrealism’s “pure psychic automatism” at face value as a valid, established artistic practice and extant performative language, available for appropriation as a component element of a postmodern, post-Surrealist, process-driven painting language, serving as both motor and content-generator. For the purpose of the project, automatism is posited to be less the expression of an unbridled, subaltern subconscious than as the active voice of a separately-willed, autonomous intuition. As a parameter of the process, it is treated as a ‘found identity’, assigned its own name (“Tracy Volkswagen”, also found), provided with its own multi-platform internet presence and entrusted with the aesthetic structuring and realization, start-to-finish, of all the work in the painting series. Beyond the initial demarcation of the project parameters and preparation of necessary media, the ‘Peter Fox’ identity is not permitted to participate. To authenticate the process, the entire performance is documented via GoPro video camera, providing a first-person start-to-finish view of the alter-identity painting experience. The complete 152 episode library (129 hours) is available on YouTube at the 'Tracy Volkswagen TV' channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChyO0tXZTjspaZWAKpRTwjg). Tracy Volkswagen’s painting project involves a pre-mixed primary-based oil palette that is brush-applied.