The aesthetics of my paintings establish time as an important consideration; one can identify the meticulous process of their creation based on my hyper-attentiveness to detail. I have faith that this concentrated essence of time is present in the completed piece; a static culmination of the painting process itself. This time-intensive, repetitive process could somewhat be comparable to craftmanship. In a similar way that hand woven fabric advertises the painstaking process with each individual thread, my paintings demonstrate the depth of observation – which can only be achieved over a long period of time – throughout each brushstroke.
The perpetual patterns within patterns or more simply: fractals which are found in leaves are responsible for my continuing infatuation with them as a subject matter. Each one so abundant in detail often makes me question if I have ever truly finished a piece. These fractals create a magnitude of detail so incomprehensible that I only set myself up to fail.
Due to my technical competency present in the aesthetics of my paintings, traces of my philosophies are often obliterated by the superficial misunderstanding of photorealism. I am not anti-photorealism, however, instead, I strive beyond this in what can only be considered hyper-realism. The fleeting gratification of photorealism is, in my opinion, a slothful approach to absorbing visual art. In some sadistic manner, I want my audience to prevail this by persevering beyond my ability to accurately depict leaf forms. They serve as merely a vehicle to demonstrate a transcendent and unparalleled grasp of sincere active observation.
To truthfully observe a leaf means to see a glorious exhibition of incomprehensibly minute cells, displaying insight into the structures that our world consists of, whilst simultaneously depicting the vast, expansive, and inexplicable sublime. They demonstrate innately what it is to exist, to live and to die: an imposed mortality check. Under-analysation of a piece results in shallow gratification, as does over-analysis. To look beyond, intuition creates a bridge to a more contemplative state, it is this state I want to plunge my audience into.
Soetsu Yanagi’s favour for intuitive analysis of art in The Beauty of Everyday Things (2018) heightened my pre-existing understanding of active observation. Yanagi (2018) explains:
“In my view, the relationship between seeing and knowing is similar to the interior and exterior of a building; it cannot be likened to two buildings standing side by side. It is a hierarchical arrangement, not one of two equal entities. In the field of art, intuition is far more important than intellect, far closer to the essence of beauty.”.
I aim to encourage the viewer to apply themself and become active participants in our subjective navigation of the sensory world. To successfully achieve this status, one must use a combination of intuition and intellect; not merely one or the other.
It is at the crux of my practice that I purposefully choose not to accept this degeneration of truthful observation and counteract this by obsessing over infinite detail. The result of this is a representational hyperbole, subsequently forcing my audience to exercise their dormant intuition.
To challenge my practice further, I set out to test a hypothesis to which I already knew the conclusion, with faith that the process might reveal something unknown: I endeavoured to paint two identical paintings. As I had predicted, they were conclusively far from identical however, my approach of painting them side by side simultaneously resulted in the highest level of translated detail I had achieved to date. The back and forth between the paintings attempting to make them identical soon overtook the reference image as I began to paint details which did not exist, evolving my exaggeration further and entering the realms of invention. Invention results in my most sincere idiosyncrasies and obsessions being present at surface value, exposing intimate subtleties and internal vulnerabilities, all whilst communicating with the audience by coercing them into a more transcendental state of thinking.
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