Tuesday, April 10, 2018


This painting is called 'Escape' after escapement, the part of a clock that controls the speed of the movement by allowing one cog of a wheel to escape at regular intervals, precisely regulating the rate of the clock.

In the painting, there are images of clock parts in the background and in the round  'window'.  The yellow graphics over top are abstractions of cog wheels seen from the side.  But these things are hard to see and not obvious.

There are abstracted clouds that appear and disappear.  There's the green pattern of water surface reflections and the vertical lines that appear as water at a distance but dissolve on closer inspection.

The representational components invite the viewer to try and see a complete image but this effort is frustrated at every turn as attention is pulled away by other elements in the painting.

Spreading Skepticism

The meaning and purpose of the painting is to call attention to the impermanence of the world and to our vague and contingent grasp of it. The painting is meant to invite you in with a suggestion that you might figure it out, but then never quite let you feel confident that you've done so.

The painting makes one self-conscious of trying to pin it down; self conscious of attempting to apply an 'interpretation' to what we see.  This is what we un-consciously do in daily life to everything around us.

The Viewer Creates the Art

To categorize this painting, we could call it representational with aspects of abstraction and collage. In a representational painting, there are three components, the subject that is being depicted, the artist who creates the work and the viewer who experiences it.  One can think of art that emphasizes various aspects of this relationship.
Realist art strives to as accurately as possible depict the subject.  In realist art, the artist attempts to be transparent; almost invisible. The realist artwork derives its meaning from the subject and how it is framed. in this mode of art, the artist records the subject and the viewer sees through the work to the subject and that which it signifies.
In expressionist art, the role of the artist is front and centre. The subject still exists as a reference, but the artwork is an idiosyncratic, distorted representation meant to express emotions or ideas of the artist. In this genre of art, the art does not signify what the subject is, so much what the artist wants to express.
In this painting, it is not the subject or the artist that is central but rather the viewer.  Elements that are recognizable as visual representations of things and materials are arranged in such a way as to encourage an attempt at reading and interpretation. There are recurring symbolic themes, but many different interpretations are possible. In these paintings, it is the viewer that is central to the experience of the art.

Consider again the title: 'Escape'.  It could mean an escape from pre-conception.  It could mean  or escape from un-examined assumptions.  It could mean escape into a wider, more mysterious world. What it means is up to you dear viewer / reader!

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