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Statements |  The Placeless Place

The painter is always in a constant state of searching and learning. Groupings of paintings and exhibitions are visual representations of this. This process of searching is intense and must allow the artist to become involved with the immeasurable. In this process the artist must let go of the idea of making ‘pieces of art’. Ultimately it is not the product, which is meaningful, but rather the process. It has been said, ‘the more deeply a thing is engaged in the immeasurable, the more deeply lasting is its value and that only when the artist no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things’. This grouping of paintings are representations of my involvement with the immeasurable – the placeless.

The content of these paintings is not overt, it is neither landscape nor are they representations of specific places. The images struggle to inter-relate. They are physical, spiritual, material, emotional, and intellectual. They are physical in the sense that place is suggested or evoked. They are reminiscent of an experience of a place, but are more like a dream- the placeless place. They are material in that they are made of paint and canvas and symbolize aspects of our physical and material reality. They are emotional in that they engage every viewer’s individual memories and experiences of places they have been or dreamed of – the visual histories. They are spiritual in that they explore the placeless.

Placelessness is the interval between spiritual and material realities. The paintings are manifestations of the interplay between the inner and the outer. In this sense they are a reflection of a very human state, the relationship between our inner being and its relationship to the physical or outer world - matter and spirit. They are an evocative place rather than a location. They question "the earth of limitations" and they seek out the "domain of the Placeless". They explore the interval between; the land and the sky; water and land, water and sky, dream and wakefullness. There are many layers within that interval, which explore the tranquility of nature and its changeless moods, the shifting of night to day, and day to night and the changes of season. They are contemplative spaces, which explore relationships of movement and stillness, the calm and the restless.

The suggestive and the descriptive co-exist, which gives both clarity and a sense of the veiled or hidden – they are illusive and real. The spaces are sometimes simultaneously positive and negative voids, translucent and solid, above and below, cool and warm. They question and explore the outer world with an inner eye. In all poetry or in any form of communication, meaning occurs between what is invented and what is invited. The sense of place is evoked rather than described.

The material characteristics of the paint are significant as subject matter and are content in the work. The translucency of water is expressed through opaque mediums; plaster, paste and paint. This juxtaposition creates a tension, which invites and informs. The undercurrent of line throughout the paintings is a recurrent theme most evident in the sense of horizon. The line between the land and the sky is sometimes suggested and at other times is descriptive, both acting to separate and unite, and it is this tension which animates the ‘place’. The interplay of masses of calligraphic lines and lightly gestured lines, both, concrete and suggestive. The qualities of line also suggest paths or routes. The lines and markings evoke objects, and may represent; the individuality of the markings of ones’ hand, the written language, or perhaps the roots beneath the earth.

Movement and stillness are at play. The perspective or viewpoint in the paintings is most often from above, the eye in a state of flight. The space is often endless, filled with variety, bathed in light and dark and changes of atmosphere. In some works there is a sense that one could move forever through the space and it would endlessly be changing, and in others there is a sense of one flying towards and landing at the apex of the interval. This energy and movement is very important to the painting. It might be that ‘this power or energy is used to maintain the vitality of the whole composition. Containment of energy in the work of art is vital to its life and presence in space. This aliveness comes about because the limitation or boundary of the work is accepted and all power occurs within, and relates back to it. The flow of energy through all parts in the work provides for the equalization of forces. The equalization is a balance between the static and the dynamic.’

The process of art, like that of all organic growth depends upon openness to energy. "In all things of beauty, the concrete and the ambiguous occur simultaneously in time and space." This juxtaposition creates struggle or tension. "This struggle is search, and is a human condition. It is a positive force, which requires submission to the intuitive, detachment and a willingness to allow ‘inspiration to connect with knowledge’."

Sasha Rogers
January 1999

*The Book of Certitude. Baha’u’llah, page 157

 

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