Tuesday, 28 July 2015

World View of an Oyster / text

Its an old adage of academic training that in painting you are not trying to create something where there is nothing, but rather trying to create space where there is none. In her Solipsism Series, artist and curator, Sarah Iremonger has taken the works of academic landscape painters and digitally divested these worlds of their subjects. Historic landscape painting invites the viewer to the comfortable pose of the surveyor; the world laid out for the viewer to enjoy. All the pleasure of ownership and none of the obligations of stewardship. The complete worlds of others’ making are suddenly vacated.  By removing the scenes for which they are titled, Iremonger performs a paradoxical act upon them. By opening space, she insinuates herself as viewer/maker/squatter into them, and, by extension invites us in as well. In offering entry through she also imparts the viewer to a kind of peculiar responsibility. She, and we, can no longer merely survey a world, the cost of our imagining is the new found imperative to act within our imagining.

In her new digital drawings Iremonger creates shapes from forms repeated, reversed and redoubled creating a form of recognizable parts that takes on a new identity. The Solipsism drawing, takes as its base one of the ships removed from George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson’s Ship in Stormy Seas c.1854 and by flipping and reproducing its form creates something of a Rorschach test image; taking what was a titular subject and making of it playful ambiguity.

In an earlier series Iremonger creates a campaign for Landscape Unions and all the attendant visual propaganda of buttons, badges and postcards. The landscape, as genre of art and image history which belongs to cultural history is unlike land, hard to delineate. Its borders are not easily drawn out. By making land; landscape, she abstractly liberates. Even as a playful gesture, a subtle awareness of the often arbitrary delineations of power structures become apparent, in a way that argument could not equally elucidate. Iremonger works at the borders of worlds, where the abstract world of story becomes space, where image becomes, where play can become politics, and here, she creates space where there was none and invites the viewer in.

By Daniel Ferrari for the catalogue World View of an Oyster 2013

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