I delivered six pieces of new work to Bircham Gallery on Saturday for their Early Summer Show. This is on for the whole of June and, looking at the list of artists, I'm delighted to be showing in such great company. However, if you can't get to North Norfolk, you can also view - and buy - some of my work on Bircham Gallery's web site.
The new work includes some of the pieces I've been writing about on here recently. There are some new themes developing - more about this soon - and I've also been playing with the format. A lot of my work has used a long, horizontal format, which appeals to me because of the sense of movement from one side to the other. To me this gives a sense of change or progression.
However, it's good to shake things up occasionally and so recently I've been trying out different formats, a vertical one in particular. I've used both for the two "mountain" themed pieces that are now at Bircham Gallery. To me, the vertical layout has quite a different feel. If a horizontal format is about movement, a vertical format is about pausing and taking the time to look at or contemplate something. There is a sense of stillness - a single moment captured.
I've also been influenced by Chinese or Japanese painting: i.e. the hand scroll versus the hanging scroll format. The hand scroll (which developed alongside the use of written scrolls) was intended to be viewed flat on a table and unrolled gradually to look at one section at a time - as if travelling through a landscape. Painters exploited the format to experiment with subjects that embodied temporal and spatial progression to give the viewer an experience that was like travelling through a landscape or reading a story.
Hand scrolls could be nine to twelve metres long and only the unrolled section could be viewed at any one time. The viewer controlled the pace at which they viewed the scenes. I'm fascinated with the idea of part of the image being hidden - you know that there is more to see but it isn't possible to see the whole thing at once.
In contrast, hanging scrolls were for formal display and the image would be seen all at once. Scrolls were fragile and so each would be displayed for only a short period and then changed for another. This format lends itself to contemplation or display of particular styles of painting or subject matter. These might still include landscapes, which would use complex systems of perspective to convey depth and distance.
More about this here.