Abstract art frees the viewer from the constraints imposed by realistic images. The mind can roam and the emotions felt can be examined.
Journeys to Abstraction, Sue St John.
In a world saturated with the digital image, I believe that art can challenge the viewer to see and feel beyond appearances, beyond the visual scene, to the psychology of place.
The paintings in this exhibition derive from nature: specifically, the gardens and landscape of my home in the Blue Mountains. They are not, obviously, portraits of a scene, but hopefully elicit recognition of a terrain, a name we can’t quite recall; one that stands its ground authentically.
This work seeks to portray something of the multiple sensual cues, imagination and memories that form our experience, conception or internal view of the world, rather than any external visual reality. We glimpse forms as we move through the bush, but never see the whole scene. Our experience is one of multiple instances of these glimpses, interwoven with thoughts or responses; memory of where we have been; sensual stimulation and imagination of the larger terrain.
The paintings reflect, in their process of layering, this weaving of the fabric of our conception of that world. It is a process of making shapes and multiple symbols whilst responding intuitively to the physical presence of what is happening on the canvas in front of me. Colour, used emotively, is an important element, as are the marks and brushstrokes that render movement and a tactile experience. Both are spontaneous and, at the same time, considered. By creating both an illusion (the overarching scene) and the fact of using paint, the marks and shapes may be read as both physical objects in space and a painterly expression of joy in movement or playful expression of the beauty perceived.
This way of painting demands that I “let go” of preconceptions: to mimic the randomness, chance and possibilities of the world around me, whilst staying sensitive and responsive to the “wider orderliness of nature beyond human control or understanding” [John Cage].