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Sublimate Sublime Subliminal

Megan Conery, Kritika Art Journal

Sublimate Sublime Subliminal
 

‘The idea of natural beauty as an inspiration of art is a very dangerous over-simplification.’

E.H. Gombrich

   

Sublimate, Sublime, Subliminal deals with transforming the traditional view of the figure in the landscape. The exhibition title comes preloaded with philosophical and psychoanalytical connotations.

Artist-curator Alan Rankle is positioning this exhibition as a radical move from traditional notions of landscape art; relocating our association with the internal environment of memory and the external social constructs in which we live.

The exhibition features eighteen international artists, showcased across two contrasting galleries, producing an uncanny distortion in our perception of the artwork and alerting our senses to spatial restrictions.

Lloyd’s Club a Georgian building, located in the heart of the City of London, has been transformed into a Salon of experiential artwork. The art on display is a visual delight, winding throughout three floors, each room delicately recounting the previous.

The photography of Astrid Kruse Jensen is both calming and solitary. She was Looking for Herself, depicts a woman in red peering off the end of a dock into an inky abyss, punctuated by a solitary moon. Jensen draws you in with this beautifully simplistic composition.  A sensation of intense energy emanates from nicola samori's paintings. Inspired by dutch and italian baroque art his subjects are crucifixions, saints, still lifes, landscapes and portraits. The viewer is left with an awful sense of being in the wake of destruction.

Underdog Gallery at the foot of voguish Bermondsey Street in south London provides space for larger installation works. Stephanie Donsø’s Restless is a bed made of twigs on which one could never sleep. This site-specific sculpture promotes feelings of anxiety, trepidation and the denial of rest. Placed in the middle of the gallery floor, it forces the viewer to physically re-position themselves and question their own engagement with the space.

Eva Schlegel’s Rotor, a large propeller, stands at the back of Underdog Gallery creating an air of danger. The hum of spinning blades combined with the projections of spiralling text, arbitrary words and fragmented images promote an inescapable sensation of anxiety and distress.
Finnish artist Petri Ala Maunus collects discarded, items from our throwaway culture. The breath taking, Ikea Paradise, at Underdog Gallery, depicts an idealised Golden Age beautifully painted on these squalid and compromised surfaces of cardboard detritus. Maunus’s romanticised landscapes and Bent Holstein’s stunningly beautiful and hedonistically sensuous paintings and prints both allow for a reappraisal of the familiar.

ALAN Rankle’s PAINTINGS celebrate the tradition of landscape art and are perhaps the most overt reference to the Sublime. Evoking Caspar David Friedrich’s Rückenfigur, Rankle follows in this tradition, while subverting the notion of the figure itself. Instead of painting the figure in the landscape, the viewer becomes the figure, radically changing our perspective and associations with landscape painting.

Kirsten Reynold's interest in the ‘figure in the landscape’ and classical painting is taken to an innovative state. The striking photograph, Dark Energy, cuts through the natural landscape with ETHEREAL light and the Rückenfigur takes the shape of the unseen artist.

In landscape art, the gaze of the viewer is not innocent. 'Sublimate Sublime Subliminal' ultimately asks the viewer to consider the ways in which their own attitude  has an essential role in the transforming power of the art. The exhibition seeks to reveal the mystery of our perception of space and our relationship to an inner and outer environment.

Sublimate, Sublime, Subliminal runs from 25 January – 13 April 2013.

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