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TRADING PAINT
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Trading Paint

'Trading Paint' is a racers' term which refers to the high speed grazes and impacts that result when light contact is made with another car. Heeps is keen to use this expression to reflect the painterly quality of these images.

In these terms many of the photographs on display here initially evoke the paintings of the futurists whose own fascination was speed and mechanisation. Others have echoes of abstract expressionism and pop art.

However, what at first glance appear as paintings to be leisurely reflected on have their meaning overturned as soon as one reads the title. When confronted with '#96 Chevy Monte Carlo' 'Wall IV' or 'Tyre Rub III' all associations are immediately drawn back to the moment of impact.

The photographs were created at Rockingham Motorspeedway in Corby, a banked 1.5 mile oval raceway that is the home of ASCAR racing in the UK. In Heeps' photographs, the pigments from the bodywork, tyres and wheels create their own shapes and edges expressions of the 170mph impacts and the experiences of the racing drivers at the UK's fastest circuit.

There has been much debate since the invention of photography as to the truth of images contained in photographs. Is the image simply a 'copy' of what is before the camera lens, a direct reflection created as a result of the chemical change that occurs on the surface of the film as it is struck by light? Or does the very action of photography result in a highly mediated and significantly altered version of whatever is depicted? These pictures simultaneously lean towards both of these stances. We are left in no doubt that the camera has aestheticised these signs of impact but we are equally certain that very real impacts took place.

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©Richard Heeps 2001-2009