Praxis Gallery, Adelaide SA
March 8th - April 2nd 2022
Access Event. April 2nd
Initially it was the scale, beauty and movement of clouds and colour across the sky that inspired me to start drawing the sunset every day. I focussed on working very quickly on paper and wood with pastels and watercolours. Most were finished in one sitting.
After about a year of watching the sun’s rays move rapidly across the land and sea before disappearing behind the horizon line, I realised that what I was witnessing every day wasn’t actually the sun setting, it was the earth moving around the sun. There was no sun ‘setting’ or ‘rising’, just a passage of time with spectacular colour effects as the earth traveled around it’s closest star. Although imperceptibly, we (earth) are the one’s moving.
Considering this, my thoughts also turned to the perpetual elusiveness of the horizon line. Forever there but moving away at the same time. It is the apparent divide between sea and sky but as a ‘line’, it’s not an edge, it’s more like the transparent skin holding the oceans onto the earth.
One evening while viewing a painting I was working on, I noticed a shadow falling on it. That shadow was cast by sun light across a small sculpture of a seated figure. This shadow became the perfect metaphor for ‘the passage of time with spectacular colour effects’, otherwise known as Sunset. For the next few months I followed the shadow as it lengthened and distorted across paper and canvas. I became immersed in the intense colours of the spring sky and abandoned notions of horizon completely.
This process led me full circle back to watching the light as it moved across the landscape. The sun had by then shifted into a new position and was reflecting a blinding white light on the sea. In order to accurately capture this I worked slower and specifically observed what was happening at the horizon. Whatever was happening there affected the form of the colour and light in the rest of the sky.
Every day my viewpoint is the same. And every day the sky is different. Every passage of time at the end of each day is a unique experience. As I work I enjoy thinking about how every human on earth, no matter where they are, shares in the same daily phenomena. I think about how fixed we humans are, believing we are the centre of the universe, when it’s actually the glorious sun.
All installation images by Thomas McCammon. Detailed images by Alex Makeyev.