Holiness & Justice: The Beyond Brought Close, The Mundane Made Strange
Ric Stott, 2016
A limited edition A3, high quality art print signed by the artist, Ric Stott. All profits from the sale of prints goes towards funding the creative, missional work at 35 Chapel Walk artspace in Sheffield city centre.
Limited edition of 25 prints for each painting from the series.
The Beyond Brought Close, The Mundane Made Strange
Most of the paintings in this series were hard to make. Either because of their weighty subject matter or technical issues in making the images work together but this piece was a genuine joy to create. In all painting there needs to be room for playfulness and I had fun with this one: painting an astronaut would rank alongside dinosaurs as one of the most popular subjects of children’s drawings I’m sure.
I love the red lifeline, looping like an umbilical cord through the vacuum and the manner in which the paint drips and flows. There is a balancing act in the process between allowing the paint the freedom to work its own little wonders whilst keeping control of the image as a whole. And when it works there are few things more joyous for me than seeing bright pigments bloom and mingle on the white. Each colour has its own character, not only in the feeling that it evokes but also in the manner in which it interacts with the water and the paper. Some pigments granulate and settle into the texture of the paper, forming lakes, ponds and whole landscapes in a microcosm others feel lighter and bleed with tiny tendrils across the damp substrate. In time we can learn to navigate and negotiate the different ways the paint behaves but still it maintains the capacity to surprise or frustrate.
In this image I sought to explore an experience of awe. Floating high in the expanse of the universe, so small, is perhaps an obvious choice to evoke wonder but well worth it for a chance to paint an astronaut. Then I wanted to overlay another image that worked in tension with the inconceivably large. The symbols, at first glance seem like an alien language but look for a moment and we find they are much closer to home. A small thing, the most mundane and routine thing.
Every painting is an experiment and in this experiment I wanted to see what happens when these two extremes are brought together. And as I contemplate the image that emerges I wonder whether awe can be found in the utterly ordinary.