A Natural History and Eye Contact are from the series of paintings entitled Interlacing. [Go to Interlacing exhibition page.] These paintings are about the pleasure and sometimes discomfort of looking. The paintings suggest a conjoining or unity of opposites, even an interdependency – between the real and the imagined; between sensory experience and abstract thought; and variously through other means which arise. It does this by staging elements of a naturalistic landscape within an abstract space. It describes two antithetical pictorial apparatus that here coexist within the physical form of the painting.

The abstract ‘space’ is created from interwoven lines, and so the notion of a joining together is signalled at an elemental level. Although rendered as a two dimensional space, the optical effect of the moire that results is intended to signify a spacial ambiguity, capable of suggesting volume and depth without recourse to the use of perspective. In spite of – or because of - the retinal pleasure/discomfort that the interlacing can produce, the optical play is both repelling and coercive, a feature of the sublime.

The landscape vignettes are suggestive of recessive space through familiarity, choice of colour, layering and the scale and irregularity, even wildness, of the elements. The light is from behind, casting the foreground ambiguously in silhouette or as shadow, that ambiguity implying that it is perhaps early morning, a new beginning. It floats bubble-like in an amorphous space, not anchored to a specific position of spatial depth. It is at once recessive and foregrounded, volumetric and flat. There is an organic torsion between the shape of the enclosures and the rendering of the habitat. There are definable 'places' within the landscape, viewpoints which suggest a duality of subject positions or pathways.

The painting becomes a vehicle to couple the viewers perception between the 2D scopic flicker of the background and three dimensional depth of field of the landscape, and back again at frequencies quite involuntary. The experience of the work is as an intertwining of conceptual opposites shared across diverse form, bound together in the pictorial space by the physical properties of paint, and the act of looking.

** ** **

Back to top

Menus in CSS3

© Peter Thorn,t update January 2013