For hundreds of years in Western art, Landscape was the space where the culture of the moment was imagined. Medieval workers in the fields, saints and angels in mountain grottos, wealthy Georgians in rolling parklands or lone Romantics on rocky outcrops – the Landscape framed them all. In a digital age, though, its role has changed to become a motif for our increasing distance from nature. Vanishing Point brings together four English artists who articulate this sense of separation.
Olivia Kemp’s drawings are of civilisation gone to seed, with man-made constructions in various stages of natural reposession. Her precise linework and wealth of observational detail capture a sense of creeping encroachment, whilst removing any emotional attachment from the process. Olivia recently completed a residency at The Prado in Madrid as part of the Richard Ford Award.
Jon Braley also uses line drawings in his landscapes, but cuts them physically into the surface of his paintings, making his works more akin to carvings or worked wood. It is through this act of physical interruption that Jon suggests a reconnection with the land, as if by cutting his lines he were forging fresh tracks and carving out new pathways.
Sam Douglas is a painter in the tradition of visionary artists like Samuel Palmer and Graham Sutherland. His works too have a strong physical quality, with layers built up and taken away in a process similar to sedimentation and erosion. The resulting images are both distant and defined, glimpses from within a haze of a world that is fast retreating.
Christopher Gee’s paintings also articulate a sense of separation, presenting quiet scenes like visual snippets from a traveller’s forgotten stories. A boat passing in the night, or a deserted forest treeline by moonlight all hint at private thoughts and memories, whilst capturing a sense of the inevitable passage of time and of the emotional roots that we leave behind in the landscape.
Vanishing Point opens on Thursday 16 June, 6:30 – 8:30PM.