lichenscape, a material world in macro

lichenscape I is one of my recent paintings, currently on show in an art exhibition at the harleston gallery, norfolk. here is the painting in situ, above a dark grey marble fireplace in one of the upper galleries…

lichenscape painting by artist jazz green - harleston gallery norfolk 2011

[lichenscape I, harleston gallery, norfolk]

lichenscape lichens abstract painting by jazz green - harleston gallery norfolk july 2011

at the recent preview evening someone saw a similarity in the material surface elements of lichenscape to a scientific image which was published in the guardian newspaper that very same day! (friday) – an image taken by the nasa hubble space telescope of the distant galaxy Centaurus A

‘Resembling looming rain clouds on a stormy day, dark lanes of dust crisscross the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A. Hubble’s panchromatic vision, stretching from ultraviolet through near-infrared wavelengths, reveals the vibrant glow of young, blue star clusters and a glimpse into regions normally obscured by the dust.

The warped shape of Centaurus A’s disk of gas and dust is evidence for a past collision and merger with another galaxy. The resulting shockwaves cause hydrogen gas clouds to compress, triggering a firestorm of new star formation. These are visible in the red patches in this Hubble close-up.

At a distance of just over 11 million light-years, Centaurus A contains the closest active galactic nucleus to Earth. The center is home for a supermassive black hole that ejects jets of high-speed gas into space, but neither the supermassive or the jets are visible in this image.’
© NASA 2011

hubble space telescope - centaurus A
Image © NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage

[new stars born into a distant galaxy, and there's a 'supermassive' black hole in there, somewhere]

so, this serendipitous, inter-stellar connection has signalled the opportunity to take a closer look at the cosmic surface of this painting…

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of surface textures of painting

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of surface textures - lichen weathering on walls

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of weathered surface textures

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of surface textures of painting

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of surface textures - decay, lichen on walls

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of surface textures of abstract painting - cosmos, material worlds

lichenscape by jazz green - surface elements - lichen textures on painting

lichenscape by jazz green - surface elements of abstract painting - lichen on walls - material worlds

lichenscape - lichen textures - abstract painting - decay elements

my visual influences are many & varied, including the natural, microscopic and biological world, but equally satellite images of the earth and outer space. the link to a faraway galaxy is perhaps a tenuous one to make for this painting, but when i have observed the intricate patterns of mould, algae or lichens growing on a surface i am always reminded of the visual comparisons and sychronicity between such things, even within a discreetly colonised surface there is a small universe all of its own…

such small surface elements are often discovered in places of structural decay or simple neglect, where nature has (naturally enough) taken precedence over the man-made environment, where the material elements of time & nature are etched deep into surfaces, with a sense of solitude or melancholia quietly pervading the scene. i am also intrigued by how seemingly abandoned places are very much ‘alive’ and ‘active’ and resonate with a hidden history…

thinking back to the expanding universe and the cosmos, also caused me to think again of a painting in the tate modern art collection, cosmos and disaster by david alfaro siqueiros.

david alfaro siqueiros - cosmos and disaster 1936, tate modern london

Cosmos and Disaster (Cosmos y desastre) circa 1936. Duco, Pyroxilin, sand, wood on copper mesh over plywood
© Tate/Estate of David Alfaro Siqueiros

duco is a brand of enamel paint and pyroxilin cellulose car paint. it is a painting in which the use of unconventional materials (at the time) seem to give birth to the image, arising out of the process of painting, and yet the artist must have had some initial concepts in its making beforehand – as if the multitude of personal thoughts and feelings surfaced and directed the outcome of the painting. siqueiros ran experimental painting workshops in new york city at around the time of this painting, and one of his students was jackson pollock.

i think i work in a similar way, having in my mind the essence of a ’subject’ and the materials & processes to realise it, but the conclusion of the work is arrived at through the material engagement with process. i like to discover or unearth small incidents along the way – but i erase things too. the lower left of lichenscape was later blocked out, but some underlying texture still shows through when light hits the surface.

i should like to tackle this subject again (from mould, decay, lichens), to take it forward into more ambitious, larger scale works (but i would need some money and a much larger studio to pursue this!). it is a subject immersed in the material elements of the environment, but like appearance, metaphor and meaning in art, the narrative is subjective, generative and varied.

sadly, lichenscape II (a more muted grey painting) did not survive my long-term ‘critical eye’ and it now resides in a tray in sixteen very ragged canvas pieces… perhaps something new will materialise out of this random act of destruction?

lichenscape I, abstract painting by artist jazz green - not selected for elements material worlds art exhibition, forum norwich, july 2011
lichenscape I, 2010, mixed media on canvas, 95cm x 95cm

are there any questions..?

lichenscape I is currently on show at the Harleston Gallery norfolk, from 18 June to 11 July 2011

current exhibitions

Reunion Refresh @ Reunion Gallery, 5 Feb – 22 Oct 2011

HWAT exhibition 2011 @ Harleston Gallery, 18 June to 11 July 2011

3 Comments

  1. Jazz
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    apparently not…

  2. Jazz
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    if you like this painting, it could be for sale..!

    [please enquire within]

  3. Jazz
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    1250