When examining the history of Scott Gardiner’s practice it becomes obvious there are certain themes which run through out his oeuvre. Time, temporality and the search for meaning key among them. Made in the wake of his father’s death, this body of work became a re-examination of these concerns and a reassessment of his own parameters of importance.
Like a landscape painter returning to the same vista time and again to capture the shifts of light, mood and season at a particular location, the repeated motif in these paintings bare the hallmarks of a pilgrimage. Crossing the threshold of the studio became his pilgrimage, and returning to the same forms every day to glaze for hours, a consoling meditation on time. The deliberate repetition of compositional elements also increases the focus on subtle shifts of light and movement within each painting, as colour and the weight of pigment dictate mood and intensity.
We are reminded of the transient hues accompanying the beginning and end of each day, a broad range of soft colour only revealed at precious moments. These paintings operate in those precious moments, attempting somehow to elongate this contemplative space and trap time within a painted frame. This fervent search for meaning manifests itself in the process driven nature of each painting, as if, like any good pilgrim, the harder and longer the toil the closer to nirvana or solace one becomes.
The laborious methodologies utilised to execute the work became a deliberate strategy, as if the time and energy spent might imbue the object with meaning beyond its materiality, an archaeology built on layers of glaze, time and personal history. Somehow investing the painting with remnants of a once unshakable belief in the transformative power of art, some distant echo of emancipatory potential.
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