Nina Cook and Michael Collins
The Explanaratory Gap
As the laws and patterns of nature reveal themselves through scientific discovery and our intellectual comprehension expands, we pat ourselves on the back. We are comfortable (and comforted) with the idea that our world is becoming more comprehendible (if not the implications of our mis-use of it).
But what we are less willing to acknowledge, is how correspondingly our native (intuitive, assumptive) ‘understanding’ grows and adjusts, profoundly influencing our feelings and beliefs about the universe we inhabit. We tend to think of our mystical relationship with the world as belonging in a pre-science time. But what I observe is more aligned with a contemporary updating (in difference to overwriting) of myth.
My work explores these concepts from both my personal personal experience, but also thrnough observing the broader conversation in society through media and eavesdropping. Still my filter, but a broader than entirely personal context.
Nature flows with matter effected energies of differing frequencies and polarities, which never-the-less form recognisable patterns and shapes. The familiarity I experience with these forms feels more than simply having seen them in macro and microscopic viewfinders. They feel ‘right’ – they feel like home.
Why feathers? Because I needed a bridge – and over my years of painting I have developed a visual language through feathers that seems to work. I love the fact that feathers have been so long in existence (from the time of dinosaurs) and that they already play such a significant role in folk law, mythology, poetry and symbolism.
My hope is that, through observing the works you will feel the spark of recognition – the spark of ‘us’ and ‘home’ and how incredible and beautiful ‘we’ ‘I’ ‘it’ ‘us’ ‘our’ ‘whole’ are.
The Explanaratory Gap One Oil on canvas, 1215mm X 1215mm
The Explanaratory Gap Two Oil on canvas, 1215mm X 1215mm
The Explanaratory Gap Three Oil on canvas, 1215mm X 1215mm
The Explanaratory Gap Four Oil on canvas, 1015mm X 750mm
The Explanaratory Gap Five Oil on canvas, 1015mm X 750mm
The Explanaratory Gap Six Oil on canvas, 1015mm X 750mm
The Explanaratory Gap Seven Oil on canvas, 760mm X 500mm
The Explanaratory Gap Eight Oil on canvas, 760mm X 500mm
The Explanaratory Gap Nine Oil on canvas, 760mm X 500mm
I Reflect Therefore I Am Oil and graphite on blind, 1500mm X 1220mm
Nature morte or still life?
The still life paintings in Nature morte or still life? feature recyclable objects and materials, especially partially crushed aluminium cans. The objects were sourced at the local supermarket, found on the streets, parks and reserves of Christchurch, or surreptitiously placed in the garden shrubs by teenagers. We used to refer to such discarded objects as People Flowers in the 1970s.
The plastic, tin, and other objects presented in the paintings are not unique or distinguished. They are mass produced and in various ways, unsustainable. If there is an instrumental consideration to the painting such objects, it might start with the fact that such objects should be seen and then placed in proper recycling bin.
Attention to intrinsic qualities of a painting and the pleasure derived from how a painting is put together is an important value in art making. The painting in Nature morte or still life? emphasizes an interest of looking closely at familiar things. Sometimes there is an underlying humour in how this is done but the aesthetic dimension of these paintings is always important.
This exhibition operates around a close definition of still life: that of nature morte or nature un posa, wherein inanimate objects are isolated and are in repose and there is no implication of action. While compositions adhere to still life conventions, the use of atypical subject matter and the manner in which scenes are composed—to the extent that some objects appear quirkily animated—quietly subvert the genre.
A final disclaimer: no recyclable materials have been inappropriately disposed of during the production of this work.