Metaphor as Material. Material as Metaphor. Part II.

In Part I of ‘Metaphor as Material. Material as Metaphor’ I’ve talked about choosing the material of the painting to be the metaphor of the subject matter. In Part I  was using watercolour, ink and gouache on paper with hand made native wood frames to explore the temporally of trees. Not only in the seasons, but within the geopolitics of  Scotland and the early formation of the United Kingdom.

Here, in Part II of ”Metaphor as Material. Material as Metaphor’ I’ve taken that same idea that the materials and the process of making the paintings are in keeping with topic. The topic here is still landscape and Scotland, but on a bigger scale. The large employers in Argyll, Scotland are now the multi-national giants. The land is owned by Trusts and the Hedge funds. Such is the result that no one individual is responsible for the land or for the people who have lived on the land for centuries. As I write this, I am aware of the seduction that making money has, of the challenges that it presents to ones authenticity and being in the world. I  pay into a UK Civil Service pension but have no idea what they money is invested in and how they in turn treat landscapes. I am minded of the anthropologist Michael Taussig essay ‘ The Sun gives without receiving’ in his book
Walter Benjamin’s Grave. (Chicago Press, 2006.)  In this essay the tale of awesomely scaled consumeristic enterprise is endowed with the ability to destroy life as well as bestow riches. Taussig reminds us that it is a materialist knowledge that offers a crucial alternative to the increasingly abstract, globalized, homogenized, and digitized world we inhabit.

For these painting I’ve worked on a larger scale and with oil paint on aluminium. What better way to express the notions of the multinational than with oil. I used the same process of making the paintings that is analogous to the formation of landscapes. The paintings are one metre squared. The aluminium has a beautiful fine grain and a subtle iridescence. They are seductive and sit somewhere between abstract and expressionist landscape, but take the form of figurative painting.

I have used the same pigments as in Part I ‘Metaphor as Material. Material as Metaphor’ on paper and translated the idea into oil paint. These are turquoise, ultramarine, London red, lemon yellow. I have substituted the watercolour lamp black for oil Madder. Oil paint uses the same chemical pigments to watercolour but oil uses different resin and mediums to suspend the colours. The colours and mediums form sedimentary layers and interact with each other and the aluminium to become something other than what they started as.

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