Penelope Civil

Converging Cadences

Bachelor of Visual Arts Painting

There is a mysterious dynamism in painting, which I seek to ruffle with splashes of contradiction. Holding and balancing disparate energies is integral to my practice. The translucent meets the opaque; the muted contrasts the loud; the free and restrained are equally important. Calm luminous passages of colour in the paintings are punctuated by unpredictable gestural interruptions. The momentum activated through the colour relationships and the attitude of the mark-marking.  The interconnected rhythms and patterns I sense in my environment mingle in the work with ideas that are generated digitally. Photoshop’s unlimited possibilities for rehearsing colour gradients and brush marks have augmented my investigation of paint. The process however, retains the responsive spontaneity of a child playing in a rock pool at the beach. Each painting is an unknowable pool and a reflective depth for exploration.

There is a mysterious dynamism in painting, which I seek to ruffle with splashes of contradiction: paint has a mutability in articulating disparate energies and contradictions. In my paintings, this is visualised in passages of luminous calm colour melded together with the unpredictable nature of gestural mark-making.

Dynamic and unseen forces are all-embracing and embed their forms in our environment. In the urban ecology they leave their traces; scraped, stained and etched on surfaces.  At the beach, I can follow the imprints of tidal rhythms in the sand. The transient water sculpting, dispersing and reforming the fractal patterns of the sand dunes. The iterative cycle that creates nature’s fractals seems chaotic and yet there is an order.[1] A paradox that fascinates me with its pervasiveness.

In daily life, the presence of contradictions is something I acknowledge both outside and within myself. It is in moments when my mind is still and the body feels, that I find myself most attuned to these variances. I look to hold these contradictions in one space. In the painterly gestures, it is the balance between; the translucent and opaque, muted and loud and the free and restrained. Reinterpreting differences on the painterly surface and the embodiment of paints visual language is integral to my practice.  The momentum of the work is in the activation of colour relationships and the attitude of the mark-making.

Photoshop is a frequent starting point to explore ideas that encompass colour relationships and mark-making. My digital thoughts mingle with my perceptions of the rhythms and patterns in the environment. Photoshop options to create gradients, modulate opacity and apply brush effects have been key tools. Subsequently, these effects are transposed to the physical painting.  Techniques of paint application to create gradients and colour fields through pouring, glazing and spray paint have been experimented with. The digital brush options augmenting my ideas for devising mark-making tools and included rake brushes and the use of sticks and textured materials.

The process retains, the responsive spontaneity of a child playing in a rock pool at the beach. Each painting is an unknowable pool, a reflective depth for exploration of the possibilities of paint and the random surprise.

[1] James Gleick.  Chaos: Making a New Science. Penguin Books, 2008.