UNROOTED brings together the work of four visual artists who explore, in different ways, the various intersections of physical nature, technology and simulation. Using images that conjure up undefined representations of both past and future, the artists ask us to question our relationship with our landscape, whether virtual, imagined or real.
Jacqui Wedlake Hatton’s paintings depict groups of trees at the edges of small pockets of woodland. Most of them look outward, towards the light, only a few drawing the viewer into the woodland. For her, these transitional spaces represent a state of becoming, ones consciousness moving towards the light or teetering nervously at the edge of the darkness. Unlike the grand vistas of Romantic paintings, these are more intimate outdoor spaces. In that respect they may be more readily allied to folklore and fairytale, than to the sublime referred to by the Romantics. In their own way they could be read as aspects of femininity or feminine concerns. Parallels may be drawn from the subject of the paintings, with the transitions performed by painting; the creation of a painted space, conjured from memory – with the aid of photographs, from a real space: “The image emerges from the dark space inside my skull into the light of the ‘real world’.”
Nicki Rolls’s paintings and video works explore cinematic and virtual worlds. In her paintings, idyllic landscapes, borrowing from the aesthetic of early Disney, are disrupted by areas of bold geometric pattern, exploring the loss of an apparently more innocent age in a world of increasing and engulfing digitalisation. Rolls manipulates planes and perspective to unbalance optical perception, playing with ground vs. foreground, surface pattern vs. depth. She is interested in how the kitsch imagery of Disney strives for emotional proximity whilst geometric pattern articulates an intellectual distance and she utilises this opposition whilst exploring the encroachment of computer-generated environments into our emotional and social spheres. Through the painterly re-creation of frozen moments of popularised 1940s Disney film, Rolls seeks to evoke a sense of the uncanny. Her desire to unsettle runs through her video work, in which familiar sequences from Bambi and Snow White are digitally manipulated so that they retain a haunting familiarity but take on new, more sinister undertones.
Paul Ridyard’s work explores the confines and interrelationships between nature and the visual conventions of its history and representation in a theme he calls ‘The Wildernesque’, his interpretation of the mediated landscape. Ruskin’s idea of ‘pathetic fallacy’ is of particular interest to him as it attests to our tendency to project images and ideas onto nature that are the result of underlying cultural constructs. His recent work combines digital prints on architectural planning paper with a photo-real drawing technique. This process exploits the ways in which technology informs, challenges and interacts with landscape’s history and representation, whilst exploring the tension between imitation and authenticity. These unique-multiples exist between the abundance, complexity and speed with which we view the world and our own individual attempts reconcile ourselves with it.
Matt Gee examines a fascination for the elements within society’s demanding modern materialistic culture and the sensory routes of this decadent desire. Pairing artificial and natural in paradox within the work, Gee applies this dichotomy of synthetic vs. authentic to methods of imitation, replication and manipulation; objects become realised for their inherent disparate aesthetic qualities, technologies and physicality. Bending, melting, tearing and crushing become polite processes to combine incongruous objects, seamlessly unified with geometric alignments, and associations of colour and form. A language of neon Perspex, which utilises natural light and glows appears as Agate or as slices of a geode. The everyday DIY material expanding foam becomes an expanding fungus protruding from a tree stump. Addressing the uncanny perception of material with a truthful articulation, the work diagnoses our current object-based obsessions, directing them intimately closer and simultaneously more distant under inspection.
Andy Clemson’s soundscape responds to the work of the four exhibiting artists. Clemson’s initial recordings adhere to basic phonographic values, which are then abstracted by superimposing synthesised sounds within the field recording. The use of binaural microphones achieves “distorted proximity effects and haphazard directionality”. This process produces multi layered, multi-faceted soundscape with many sub-categorisations metamorphosing into one another.
- Opening Saturday 4 April, 6.30 – 9.00pm
Sunday 5 April, 11am – 4pm