About the Work
Francis Bacon wondered just how possible it was in a painting to “catch the mystery of appearance within the mystery of making”. He knew that “ by some accidental brush marks, suddenly appearance comes in with a vividness that no accepted way of doing it would have brought about”. “Coming into the nearness of distance” (Heidegger's definition of a form of thought) might also be said to echo that telescopic process of looking that evokes a kind of extended and collapsed focus.
The identity of the image is a function of the switchback of temporal as well as spatial considerations. Through the process of drawing and memory you try and hold up and galvanise the mind's eye, or the “eye's mind” (Bridget Riley) alert to a particular landscape's volatility as well as its fixtures. Moving back to Norfolk and revisiting theCumbria/Yorkshire borders recently (both places I grew up in) rewinds the nearness of distance in the actuality of experience; playing out the immediacy of witnessing; to track the light scudding over the Howgill fells or the north light lowering over the Norfolk tidal flats and fieldscapes: the innate energies of the distinctive and particular.
Here is a reckoning: the counterpoint of time and place, their very distinct and contrasting territories, atmosphere and light provoking a combination of opposites. Alternating close-up focus with the further off, as if carving space and form with a beckoning yet blunt instrument. At times the land and the sky seem at loggerheads. At others like alternatives. How to capture that bracing duality? How to express the force distributed equally between the two: the physicality of distance and gravity and the tension between the where and the what?
Roger Hilton aimed at work that would “swing out into the void”, into a so called “not as yet”, admiring Cezanne for his “courage to put down what he didn't see”. Constable felt that painting was simply “another word for feeling”. So. How to make “appearance come in” to the “nearness of distance”? Since the potential of painting is to energise and to make active the space in which it is hung, the issues that feed it are of immediacy and responsiveness of process: the synthesis of feeling and thinking and making, where the result is the tension provoked by the vitality of these contradictions.
Kate Giles 2016