An Exhibition of New Work
9 Jun 2010 – 30 Jun 2010
Paradise Road Galleries
I see a junk tossing on a stylised wave, Queen Victoria glimpsed in a tropical garden, a soldier made of flowers, eyes and birds standing strong with his sword. Sri Lanka, described in brochures as a place of eternal springtime, is re-presented through images cut from encyclopaedias, magazines, sources of ‘reliable’ and ‘truthful’ visual information. Inserted into heady landscapes of paint, a ghostly apparition of a colonial past emerges from the mist while ‘the white shadow’ in the form of an octopus glides across the painted surface, icons of Western and Eastern cultures collide. These are history paintings drawing on the unconscious and irrational using surreal collaged methods to make sense of memories and stories that are deeply buried in the Sri Lankan psyche. If this place is a Garden of Eden, a place of earthly delights, why does the soldier’s sideways glance betray an inner uncertainty, his body seems raw, flayed to reveal muscle and guts, an eye for his heart.
I am seduced by the beauty of these pictures and drawn to look closer but as I do they reveal a turbulent world constructed from stories, gods, icons and symbols, traces of empire and capitalist desire. figures seem cloaked in fictional idealised viewpoints, physically trapped in these projections. Looking down at the soldier’s feet he stands on an archaeological terrain of skulls, bones and discarded body parts from an anatomical dictionary, chunks of images cut from their diagrammatic function and compressed into a layer of geographical strata. I want to enter this world but sense many dangers and perhaps all is not as it might seem.
– Dr Liz Stirling, 2010