The Lake Country Art Gallery is presenting “The Relativity of Time and Space”, an exhibition pairing two painters, Diane Feught and Lindsay Kirker, by the gallery’s curator Wanda Lock.
Painting is a two dimensional visual language, and as a means of art production has had a long, contested and interesting history. Beginning in the Lascaux Caves, the discourse has travelled through various patronages; of the Church, of the State, of the wealthy, through the Patriarchy, and on through to a place of constant critique within modernism, feminism, humanism, and structuralism. Within these and other “isms”, many scholars continue to add to this location – a place of thinking and making a mark upon a surface. There are different types of surfaces to paint on, and in this exhibition, the artists have chosen rag paper and canvas.
Diane Feught is a poet and a painter. In her published work, “The Pillow Book of Monsters – Mechanics of the Sublime” we, the viewers and the readers, have access to her written poems to help us gain entry into the ideas she has embedded in her painted works. Interestingly, in this exhibition we only have her titles to point us in a direction of meaning.
There is a measure of intimacy in the scale and the choice of using paper in the works; issues that can be placed within early feminism. However, I would suggest that this intimacy is extremely complicated; veiled. These painted collages of ideas are confounding in their compositional groupings, challenging the viewer to interpret Feught’s trifurcation of ideas, and often, when we reassemble these ideas, we realize that Feught has suggested the unexpected to us.
Conceptualism has taught us that the idea is as important, if not more important than the finished work. And semiotics has taught us that we, as individuals, have an innate ability to read images, or to decode a meaning or meanings that is inserted within a complicated image. However, even with these tools, I, as a viewer, am left with emotional responses to these works, as opposed to an intellectual understanding or a comfortable resolve. Which means I have more to contemplate.
When studying these works, I was never far from my dictionary, as I needed to be sure of my understanding of the titles; some are based in the biblical, some are based in the political, some based in science, and then there are some titles that are simply placed within the human heart. Many of the works are bracketed by areas of pattern, specifically mapped out, with an intentional palette, colours chosen to soothe and colours chosen to visually excite. As a viewer, I am left with the impression that Diane Feught is interested in the logistics of a paradox, both intellectual and visual, and in her painted and written investigations, she has presented an arena of glorious ambiguity. And maybe that is what a lifetime is all about.
Lindsay Kirker has challenged herself with a considerable task. Simply put, Kirker is rethinking of what it is to be a human in our natural environment. Her visual thesis is an interesting intertwining of a collective of disciplines. I immediately think of post humanism and post feminism; entry points for me into her reasoning and approach to her visual work. By this I mean that I can understand that we, as people, are just one of many intelligent living organism on the earth, and we, as women, have graduated to encompassing all the many differences within the lens of an individual. However, Kirker’s research is polyphonic in nature: her MFA Thesis is titled “Creating Structures: The Complexity of Making, Dwelling and Being” is evidence of her intellectual and personal journeys.
Kirker has travelled to regional and international destinations in the world to aide in her quest for understanding what it is to be human in our natural environment. She creates painted dreamscapes that she suggests is couched in the politics of the everyday, a philosophical trope of early feminism. Within this framework, Kirker has placed herself amongst scientists, environmentalists, and in doing so, has moved through many conversations of traditional and untraditional ways of knowing. She has come to understand that the natural environment, which has been here for known time, carries memory. Within this memory, are sites of the sacred, which often go unnoticed by our societal push for economic development. A family member suggested to Kirker that her questions were not based in physics anymore, or even science, but have moved into a place of spirituality. A location within the human heart.
Her methodology of painting begins in a vortex of chaos. She has stated that she begins in an activity of throwing many things at the raw canvas – often unstapled to any support, however for this exhibition the canvas was traditionally stretched. Her substrate is not archival in nature as she combines gesso and house paint and sections of untreated canvas together as she builds towards an image. The house paint, with its higher water content, will, over time, be unable to hold its integrity, allowing for cracking and flaking. For me, this is an interesting metaphor for the many disrupted foundations that are visible in her bodies of work. These foundations are based in traditional Western perspective, something that Kirker understands as a reproduction of truth, not necessarily a truth in itself. This can also reflect the rapid expansion that Kirker witnesses, as we continue to build over nature in an effort to frame the social environments of our city spaces.
Kirker’s choice of scale provides a visual impact, a choice that will catch our attention, and then invites us to engage with the multiple perspectives that she presents to us. She reminds us to question how we have arrived here, now; and to remember that our past and future on the earth are connected.
I am interested in how this exhibition, “The Relativity of Time and Space”, juxtaposes ideas focused on our inner landscape alongside ideas that reflect a gaze outward to the natural world. These ideas are timely in nature and acknowledge the complexity of this curious moment in time.
Obviously, there is much more that could be said about the works of these two artists. And it is also understood that Diane Feught and Lindsay Kirker are in an active and ongoing relationship with their ideas; a continuing that builds upon their responses to the world around them.
Exhibition, The Relativity of Time and Space features artwork by Diane Feught and Lindsay Kirker, curated by Wanda Lock and available to see at the Lake Country Art Gallery until May 28th, 2022