I’ve been playing around with placing domestic chairs in different landscape contexts. I’ve been collecting dolls’ house chairs (junk shop buys etc) and using these as references to insert into paintings of the Cornish landscape. Conceptually, this accords with the recent ‘inside-outside’ theme, dissolving boundaries between inside (home) and outside spaces as part of a commentary on how we ‘other’ the natural world. I recently expressed this in the following artist statement on sightlines:
Implying a viewing position where lines converge, sightlines carve space into the manageable, knowable and the pleasing – implying a rationalisation of the natural world or ‘man’ made constructs such as gardens. In my work I’m looking to explore possibilities for other sightlines more suited to our current increasingly frightening context. These alternate sightlines may be irrational, broken-up, dissolving or they may imply unearthly and impossible geometries and hauntings. I aim to show a positive yet entropic diminishment of masterful sightlines in favour of sightlines that recycle and reformulate, that transform and deny illusions of agency and human centrality. As an artist focused broadly on ‘landscape’, I’m taking a sightline that juxtaposes our ordered, homely domestic spaces with that of the wild world to emphasize our need to reassess our relationship with the natural world. This includes setting our sights beyond the immediate to the future, a sightline now needed more than ever. In search of sightlines that accord with this, I take a surreal turn to visual vocabularies and narratives that inform our childhood and teenage years: fairy tale, urban myth, and folk horror.
My experiments with the chair on the beach painting as part of a series looked first at technical elements of glazing and recession (lessons learned about atmospheric perspective etc), and more recently at how to position the chair to work in both perspective (enhancing a sense of believability) and crucially in terms of storytelling. I planned perspective carefully (see previous blog entry), but the outcome just didn’t seem to read in terms of storytelling. My intention was to ask the viewer to speculate on why the chair was on the beach, but I felt it wasn’t reading as well as it might in encouraging that speculation. It just wasn’t prominent enough and it was too orphaned (that might have worked in some ways but looked odd to me in a bad way). Revision involved scaling it up and I felt far better about it in terms of its positioning as a storytelling device (see below). I now feel this is resolved and I can refocus on other paintings in the series.