Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2052-6695
  • E-ISSN: 2052-6709



This article presents a discussion around the idea of painting as a ‘relational’ practice, which has evolved from the invited correspondence between Catherine Ferguson (as Painter) and Ken Wilder (as Non-Painter), facilitated by Agnieszka Mlicka. Their responses to envisaging such a relational painting reflect distinct artistic practices and philosophical traditions, which diverge and converge throughout the writing. For the Painter, on the one hand, painting becomes relational by virtue of its life and process, as an autopoietic entity in a dynamic relation with its environment. For the Non-Painter, on the other hand, the very terms relational and autopoiesis are treated with suspicion, in that it is argued that any critically inclined collaborative painting must reveal the actualities of the genesis of a work’s spatial and temporal performance. In juxtaposing these two trajectories through the process of co-responding, an analogy is created to the idea of a relational painting practice as a dynamic process of negotiation. The emerging interface generates an energy that has more significance than the notion of a completed or realized work. Reflecting on this collaborative experiment, this article suggests that the creation of an agonistic space for discourse is fundamental to imagining how a relational painting might unfold.


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