Sunday, 12 January 2014



Acrylic on canvas 150 x 120 cm
© Lisa Ruyter. Courtesy Alan Cristea Gallery

Water rarely keeps still, unless it is tightly constrained, as in a bottle marked ‘still’ which confusingly does not refer to its lack of motion. When water is still,  a puddle or pond on a breathless day, for example, there’s a strong urge to disturb its calm with a pebble or a skimming stone. Still waters are beguiling. The saying that ‘Still Waters Run Deep’ - which means that beneath a placid exterior lies a passionate or subtle nature - dates back to Roman times.

Ruyter begins by taking a photograph, transferring it to a surface and resolving it into a line drawing.  She applies vivid specific colours which have no relation to the matter represented. The artist writes "colour is a challenge to the status quo. Even when seemingly polite, contained and proper in its given structure, it still looks to make trouble”.  

 Here it is contained in a structure of strong fine lines. The image is completed in our imagination much in the way that our eyes create a sense of three-dimensional space. We can perhaps see leaves and twigs sunbathing on the surface, or fish or amoebae deep down among  the bubbles and swags of weeds. Central is a yellow line which defies our expectations by rising up at a right angle. The painting, which was once a photograph, has no need to tease us with proof or truth or lies about something that somehow existed in the past. It is the lot of photographs to become contextualised by journalists or or advertisers or illustrators.  Here it is brought to life by the artist's intentions.

Lisa Ruyter writes "Medium is often used to describe the material nature of an artwork: ‘silver gelatin print’ or ‘acrylic on canvas’ for example. I propose that the artist is the medium, materialising spectres to varying degrees of recognition in material form". 

No comments:

Post a Comment