Wednesday, December 04, 2019


The Wind Asks, Which Direction? Oil on linen 81 x 102 cm 2019

This new painting The Wind Asks, Which Direction? is connected to another painting called Beware, Whispers the Wind [below]. 

In both paintings I am interested in how virtual landscapes and landscapes with superimposed screen-based computer graphics mediate our relationship with, and understanding of, environment. In The Wind Asks, Which Direction? red and white lines mimic computer graphics overlaid onto a landscape which could be real or not real? Is this an image from a computer game, or maybe an image on a remote drone pilot's computer screen? A compass exposes a tension between the real and not real, its four cardinal points are all 'N'. But does this 'N' mean 'north', or does it mean 'no direction', 'nowhere', 'nihilism', 'nothingness'? The compass has no dial.

Red trees-of-life, positioned in the background landscape, sway in the wind. However, one sways one way and the other sways in the opposite direction. Does this mean there is turbulence out in the landscapes of reality, the wind agitating for our attention? Does it indicate that when the wind blows in one place, it can blow another way in a different place - like in real life? Maybe the trees attempt to restore reality by demonstrating that the wind still exists? But, could these trees be sending a warning, that direction is lost in a world where the fake compass, a metaphor for the 21st century, has wielded its influence? The red trees-of-life differ from the white trees 'planted' on the red line graphic. The white trees are the same colour as the compass. The trees are as fake as the fake compass. What are we witnessing?

The tension between reality and the virtual is also indicated by the small squares of colour that appear to form parts of the landscape. These squares mimic pixels. Are they indicators that the background landscape is a computer generated image? Or, do they indicate that this landscape pretends to be virtual, as a subterfuge - a strategic measure of exposure. Or, do they warn us that pixels are indicators of images formulated and generated for humans by machines - after all, machine learning and AI tools do not really need a generated image to scope for data?  

As a painting The Wind Asks, Which Direction? act as a resistance. It does so by not relying on digital and cyber platforms for creation, exhibition and storage. Although not reliant on these platforms painting can still critique - and - from a distance, where there is room for perspective.

The Wind Asks, Which Direction? and Beware, Whispers the Wind are examples of my attempts to visually think through how militarised and militarise-able systems, platforms and devices occupy,  mediate and militarise landscape and extended environment. 

My Painting I Painted The Wind [bottom] was painted in 2001.


 Beware, Whispers the Wind  Oil on linen 61 x 97 cm 2019

I Painted the Wind Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2001

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