Escutcheon


An escutcheon is the brass plate around a keyhole. It functions as a gateway between public and private space; between the social and intimate domaine. This new series of acrylic on paper paintings also examines issues relating to experience on either side of the excutcheon and how both people and objects are modified by context.
There is a children’s memory game in which a group of cards is laid out in a grid. As each card is flipped over to reveal its image, the players are required to recall the images of objects that have been removed. The cards are brightly coloured and have single central images. The memory game is the stimulus for this body of work. My interest lies in that ephemeral human experience of perceptual memory, which acts as a holding chamber and filter for images culled from the visual encounter with the external world.
Images and information appear before us so quickly and powerfully in our waking hours that we often reach the point of image-fatigue. Placing one or two objects on a minimalist flat ground tends to slow down the process and enable integration. This allows the viewer to regard and examine in a measured and calm way the object/figure, without the restraints of context or even horizon lines. As in the card game, each figure examined then hidden again becomes ever more singular in its absence.
Memory may translate into Dream. For the viewer of the paintings, the realworld images are juxtaposed and create a dreamlike narrative, where the meaning cannot be discerned simply. Some of these images are extracted from news of weather disasters or athletic competitions, or from detritus collected in the woods. An added dimension of memory and history is recognizable in the style of the black and white images which echo the oil on paper studies executed by the painters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The edges of the colourful flats are unfinished, not only to show process, but as a parallel to the visible edges of memory.
The meaning of these paintings is both obvious and enigmatic, depending on the viewer’s contribution. Thus the works are contemporary in their potential for interaction with the viewer. As in a dream remembered, the paintings are mere fragments, shards of memory, from which any number of narratives can be built.

 
 

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