Myth & Landscape
Exhibition: – 28 Apr 2012
9 rues des Arquebusiers
Mon-Fri 10am-7pm . Sat 1pm-6pm
Myth & Landscape
When Odysseus instructed his crew to lash him to the mast of their ship, he was preparing himself to hear the sirens song, 'the song of the universe'. Their sweet singing, claims of omniscience and power to calm the waters infallibly lured sailors off course to their destruction. Odysseus plugged his crews' ears with beeswax, so that he alone could savour the seductive laments of the sirens and experience a mystical encounter with the sublime.
Dreams and the sea are the closest we come to other worlds, and the solitary sea-stacks featured in these photographs, or sirens as they appear to me, stand as guardians on the threshold of both worlds. For me the sirens song is a call to contemplation, not action, and these images chart my own fascinated encounters with an enchanted world of forgotten archetypes.
My pictures are intended to siren-like, allure viewers into a mysterious abstract world, both concrete and ineffable, attuning them to mythological and metaphorical themes by removing all references to time and place.
Sea-stacks are all that remain of cliffs that eroded many hundreds and thousands of years ago. These solitary pillars would have evolved from collapsed arches and will one day be surrendered back to the sea that carved them. I feel that in their slowly achieved individuation these sea-stacks reflect our own existential isolation, putting us in mind at once of our own mortality and of life's worth and beauty, and perhaps reconciling us to the paradox.
Myths and legends have often been shaped and inspired by geologic landforms and similarly, I use the natural world as an arena for the exploration of symbolic and metaphoric motifs. The images therefore carry no identifying names or locations because I want their reference to be the individual spectators' psyche rather than a set of geographical co-ordinates. Naming something is a way of knowing and measuring it, and thereby removing from it something of its mystery. These images with their anonymity are intended to function, not as documents, but as triggers to memory that point past themselves to worlds within the viewers' imagination.
The sirens’ song with its promise of ultimate knowledge also suggests an infinite realm that opens a window onto ideas of the sublime. To my mind, it is also the song of art, which charms and fascinates us into the ego-diminishing state of aesthetic enchantment, perhaps the goal and consolation of all art.