In this time of facebook phobias and insta-anxiety and engagements, James Little sets out to make paintings that are rendered ‘un-instagrammable’ and best viewed in person.
The artist immersed himself for eight days in the dark dappled fern gullies and lyrebird habitat of the Tarra Bulga National Park rainforest in an obsessive search for the ‘perfect’ fern.
Back in the studio he transformed his finds – exquisite specimens of the natural world, as subjects for paintings that are contrarily focused on the surrogate rather than the authentic.
He is reacting to a world in which art is increasingly accessed as quick click-and-scroll viewings by a digitally focused generation that experiences life filtered through the screen-based technologies of on-line environments.
Yes – the net enables a wider audience reach, but the level of connection is fugitive in quality.
A multi-stage process combining photography, stenciling and reverse painting in acrylic paints, applied onto the back of sheet glass is used for his paintings.
The fern fronds are flatly painted in deep colours of indigo blue, raspberry red, deep emerald green against a scumbled, textured background accented with subtle licks of contrasting colours.
The artist’s works are immersive. His paintings are illusory, figments only – moody and muted as is the fern’s natural habitat. And perversely his paintings do not photograph readily, look good or read easily when posted on line. The ocular effect and the in-and-out-of-focus reflective qualities of glass impact the ability to capture an image with the ubiquitous mobile phone camera or without the viewer and gallery context being reflected back into the work.
See something different…
Experience. James Little.