The main concept behind my painting is the confusion of reality, and the interconnection between man and nature. With the increasing growth of the manmade structures, nature is often pushed to the side, and sometimes even forgotten about. In a world where everything is electronic, we can often forget what reality is. My painting is a part of this story, a question of reality encapsulated in the wilderness of nature.
My work presents a large, portrait canvas, depicting a water forest scene and a partially derelict house. I was initially inspired by the work of Peter Doig, and his Concrete Cabin (Doig, 1994) and Reflection (Doig, 1997) pieces. These are melancholic and contrasting pieces depicting thin forests. From these, I began to experiment with oil paints to create the same sense of depth within the forest that I would paint. This led me to the contrasting and colourful backgrounds of Zeng Fanzhi, with his bright backgrounds and dark, mysterious twigs in the foreground (Fanzhi, 2015). Inspired by this, I wanted to create the same contrasting atmosphere using a similar palette and repetitive layering of the paint. Under The Skin, a 2013 film (Under The Skin, 2013), further informed me of a large forest with unknown events occurring all around and to the central character, and also the depth and detail of forests, which I wish to recreate.
In my own work, I wanted to have a contrast in mood between the forest and the misty, colourful sky. By referencing the earlier artists, I hope to confuse and question the viewer as to “which way is up”, a question inspired by James Elkins (Elkins, 2009, pp. 11-32). I also wish to evoke the memory of nature in the viewer as they live in the ever-growing electronic world.
In addition, I was inspired by Cabin Porn, a book that takes you around the world with different cabins, with everything from being built with boats to being built on a cliff edge (Porn, 2009). This book helped inform my design of the small derelict house within the painting. I wanted to include a house within the painting, especially within an environment such as the forest, as they were once the home to many an adventure in childhood.
My piece presents ideas about the confusion of reality and the interconnection between man and nature through a contrast of colour and mood. The painting depicts a grand, overwhelming forest rising out of a lake, next to a small, derelict house sitting on the water. The contrast between the deep greens and blues of the forest and the light washes of reds and yellows in the misty sky distinguishes the contrasting atmospheres and highlights the interconnection and the power that nature has over man.
Doig, P., 1994. Concrete Cabin. [Art] (Saatchi Gallery).
Doig, P., 1997. Reflection (What Does Your Soul Look Like?). [Art] (Tate Gallery).
Elkins, J., 2009. What is Painting?. [Online].Available at: www.jameselkins.com. [Accessed November 2016].
Fanzhi, Z., 2015. Blue. [Art] (Gagosian).
Porn, C., 2009. Cabin Porn Archives. [Online]. Available at: http://cabinporn.com/archive. [Accessed 27 November 2016].
Under The Skin. 2013. [Film] Directed by Jonathan Glazer. UK, USA, Switzerland: British Film Institute.