30th April – 28th May, 2011
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Image: Simon Withers, Contrivance, 2010
“I could see the sky and there was no horizon and I imagine the world is a lovely place”
Contrivances are a series of absent landscapes. They are a search for illusive lands that exist within the parameters of conscious journeys. These works through the forming of the painted medium exorcises fallibility through expression and one which questions the authenticity of paint.
It is possible that these places could represent ‘somewhere’; equally they are ‘nowhere’. These lands are not places that you can pin point upon a map. These landmasses are very much rooted to the earth, or are they? The substance of each painting cannot hold an exact, observed moment of nature. I paint below an unhurried sky, unable to capture subtle and rapid changes…
In the capturing of a ‘state’ of being and in conjunction with the movement of real time, the original sixteen small (14”x18”) paintings were rapidly produced monochromatically and painted with intensity, akin to observed moments…and were these the skies of memory, fleeting and reflecting the ungraspable nature of the sublime heavens? How does one paint the un-paintable? The physicality of the land is reduced to two colours per painting, little sods of colour, blobs, essences of recall, and minute flecks of some tangible experience…imaginary landscapes, islands of colour in an infinite space of grey sky. The absence of colour, is it a dream or a journey to another place? Do I dream or imagine the Elysian Fields? Is it a search for the lost mythical land of Ultima Thule?
Each of the original series of sixteen paintings held within “the fortunate accident”, were these actions result of a flighty dreamer seeking to define the word ‘serendipity’ in landscapes? These “Self-contrivances” I enquire; are they the effects of unbelief…possibly? They are articulations, rhythms, stylistic poems of the here and the now and reflections on nature. They do not attempt to win any
arguments over stylistic or aesthetic reasoning. The paintings ‘dump’ earth’s colours upon a place, (a place defined by movement and air.) These marks, of absenteeism are akin to dropping a building upon an empty lot, a wasteland or into no man’s land. Is it unwelcome profundity?
These adaptations, reflections in natural history are places that no God would seek to design and to craft, to walk upon, to claim ownership of or to seek authority over. These lands are not constrained by history, by nature, by natural processes and forces. They are a curious solution to an ideal design within a place of unreason. This perforce is an inherent will within our world of necessary spaces, logical reasoning and necessity.
These lands are self-sufficient yet are co dependent and there is always a pairing of compatibles within each realm. They can be interpreted as being self-sufficient or as interdependent, inter-reliant. These vacant lands are in a place of absolute urgency and yet are reflectively hanging bereft of any taproot or anchor. The backdrop that is the sky underpins the possibilities for varied constructs upon the new land.
Once the visual language has been erected, so personal modification to interact with these images can be established. The contrivance itself can be of varied construct: the modification can be an expansion, a limitation, or a shift altogether. One stimulant evokes an alternative, and so the communication of the senses commences. It is upon these lands that an attempt is made to explore.