Sarah Nind







ARTIST'S STATEMENT: Excerpts on Landscape/Cityscape

Recent bodies of work, “Mnemonic Structures,” and “Lost Dimensions,” address the image(ination)s of landscape and cityspace, the two seen as mirrors of each other, both offering the desire for home as longing rather than fulfillment.  Within this theme, the environment is understood through ambiguous viewpoints – the actual vs. the imagined city; the romantic vs. the distressed landscape. 

The new series of work employs mixed-media processes – oil painting and photographic documentation mediated by digital technology.  Through the use of colour, line, and abstraction of form, the painting references the architectural grid of the built environment and the illusion of three-dimensional form.  The grid, metaphoric of the underlying structure of our urban reality, is seen as being an extension of the patterns of nature.  Mnemonic traces of the grid overlay both city and landscape.  Photographic images in the work document these constructed environments, and trace memories of places inhabited, seen, or merely imagined.  At times these constructed landscapes seem to be warm and protective – the steps of the square where one can sit at lunch, the cypress trees that caress the edge of the roadway.  At other times the constructed spaces are apparently empty and barren – the relentless wall of the steel and glass façade, the city street empty of traffic on a weekend afternoon.

“Re: Development” and “Broken Landscapes”, have been developed from photographic imagery shot in multiple locations – Europe, North America, and Asia – and also historic images drawn from an archive of the artist’s past.  While the images acknowledge the transformation of the contemporary environment, they also allude to the mnemonic traces from the past, which while lost, is nevertheless an integral part of the contemporary landscape.  The images explore the dichotomy of the contemporary landscape, and are intended to record the rapid transformation of today’s urban fabric and to comment on the juxtaposition of opposites – the old and historic vs. the new and contemporary, the natural vs. the constructed environment. 

The photographic fragments in the work are often vague as to their exact location in time or space.  They allude to the uniformity of the contemporary urban environment, and serve as traces of memories seen or imaged.  The work attempts to question how these memories and images live in our conscious and unconscious memories and affect our ways of seeing and perception of reality.  Rather than being a dramatic narrative, the work questions history, the construction of time as a lineal process, and the distinction between the real and the virtual.

On an analytic level my current work questions whether the self can be distinguished from the environment it inhabits, the boundary of an individual being an abstraction, inseparable from the boundary of the city / landscape.  On an emotional level the work can be understood as addressing the fragility of the desire for place, the longing for home interwoven and inseparable from the search for lost identity.