Discovery has long been a critical part of my creative process. New materials, new techniques and new subjects have been the fuel that has sustained my work for many years. The moment of epiphany that comes from taking a risk and stumbling on something new and unexpected never gets old.
This new body of work did not start out with radical change in mind. A renewed interest in subjective color provided the departure point out of my “Warning Signs” series in 2011. Thus began my exploration of animal subjects as metaphorical characters caught in a staged drama, alerted to unseen dangers outside of the visual field. Through an evolution of painting and many avenues of thought, these “(Un)Natural Habitats” paintings have become something greatly departed from what was before.
Everything about these new works carries a quality of artifice. The ‘natural’ subjects of animal, bird and insect are no longer bound by reality, having transitioned clearly into subjectively colored monochromatic versions of themselves. The photographic backgrounds are distorted and covered to the point of no longer clearly referencing their landscape source. The entire relationship of the creatures to the environments is modeled after natural history museum dioramas, which are pale simulations of historical and environmental experiences. There is even the presence of selected surrogate subjects, from origami roses to Japanese lanterns pretending to be the moon, which are playful, but not quite right.
The “Document” pieces expand on this avenue of discovery and historical record by simulating old journal pages from a Darwinesque exploration of impossible creatures. Strangely colored like their brethren in the panels, these animals and birds are rendered as traditional subjects while also representing strange new species of fantasy and invention. As with the other paintings, the artifice of these works is left evident, including the map coordinates and Latin designations of color and scientific classification.
By holding on to some reference to the ‘real world’ while simultaneously entering into a new and undiscovered realm, these “(Un)Natural Habitats” have become something very different from where they began. I can’t wait to see where they take me next…
If you are interested in a piece by Carl Linstrum, please call KAI LIN ART at 404 408 4248 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.