Archetype Painting, niche (studio collection)
15 x 10 x 2.5cm, gouache, gold leaf, acrylic paint, wood, 2016
(to date 24 Archetype Paintings are in circulation)
Archetype Paintings are an enquiry into the materials of painting and the abstract spaces of cultural memory. Through restricted formal means each Archetype Painting is gold background, ultramarine wash and white frame – each is also the celestial sphere and the infinite.
ARCHETYPE PAINTINGS – the celestial sphere and the infinite
In early icon paintings, gold leaf marks out the celestial as divine. In Japanese painting of the Edo Period, gold leaf is used to depict cloud, mist, sky or indeterminate areas. In Renaissance Europe, painted depictions of the sky as realm of transitory events (weather, clouds and moon), reflected the dominant intellectual ideas of the time. In landscape painting the sky is shorthand for mood and atmosphere; and like the superimposed skies of early photography, the sky is as much a symbolic imaginary as physical vault – an archetypal hue. Malevich proclaimed “…the blue colour of the sky has been defeated by the Suprematist system, has been broken through, and entered white, as the true real conception of infinity”.
From gold to blue to white the painted sky retains a narrative of indeterminacy, divinity and transience. A narrative that I’d like to suggest, has continuing and continual relevance. I would identify this precedent in painting as a kind of demarcation of rarefied space; a material acknowledgement of a borderline and distinction between two realms – earth and sky. Might this distinction be dissolved by an atmospheric horizon? If we follow Da Vinci’s rule – the progressive admixture of blue to give a sense of spatial recession in landscape painting – the earth is potentially overwritten by the sky. It is in the oscillation between these colours that I want to instigate a dialogue – a correspondence of transition between gold, blue and white.