People have always placed faith in figures that can draw our empathy when our traditional understanding of the world is found wanting. As the rational world recedes into the space between our ears, when meaning is incompatible to our notions of coherence, we construct a symbolism to relate to the cosmological questions we continue to ask. These figures of relatable experience explore the mysticism through open-ended visual narrative. Howse, Knop and Miler all tap into this phenomena for the works in this presentation.
Tom Howse (b. 1988) is a British painter who’s domestic scenes set an uneasy tableau where a wilderness of chaotic forces are held in place by a familiarity of content. Cats, houseplants and recently vacated furniture are painted onto the canvas at a scale approaching life-size, that invite a certain visual comfort to a viewer. However, there is an anxiety at play. As strange, stark, vistas through windows combine with knowingly uncomfortable stares from house-cats, Howse’s domestic scenes become a place where the mundane becomes mystical through a brief flirtation with relatable domesticity.
Pierre Knop, (b. 1982) is a painter who’s practice invokes associations with the mystical practice of ritual. As Knop paints across multiple canvases at once, shared figures and atmospheres coalesce to give the works a shared non-linear narrative. Smoke in non-specific ritual pyres is juxtaposed against stylised figures participating in some form of urgent activity, mythological ceremony or un-translatable process. An unknown mystical attempt of order across chaotic colour saturated landscapes.
Anthony Miler, (b. 1982) is an American artist whose previous work had always had an uneasy sense of conflict as erratic mark-making gave way to a form of contained, visual sleep paralysis. His current work however is the long ponderous exhale to his previous practices sharp inhale of breath. Semi-religious idols stand in reverence to an orb that is not dissimilar to ancient worship of the sun. The work, in it’s considered and planned execution, seems to point at clues to questions that were never asked. It is rather, a hazy mushroom dream within ancient symbolic postcards.
As though all three artists are witnesses to a subsection of mystical practice, in much the same way that human beings have all searched for a universal truth, the paintings in this show instead allude to the importance of understandable ritual. That to find an understanding of the “other”, we must view familiarity through the construction of scenes. As contemporary art continues to regurgitate contemporary attitudes and concerns, 02 instead provides us with a mediation on a continuous concern. A persons desire to find what cannot be understood. A cosmological paradox.