17 October - 21 November 2013
Commune.1 is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Angela Briggs. Suggesting to us the possibility of something we don’t yet understand, while holding our past experience, the natural world is also our best home. The paintings in this series pay keen attention to natural phenomena. The works invoke presence (rather than depict places or objects) and suggest elemental experiences: of being cradled by rock, adrift in water, surrounded by growth, dazed by colour.
Natural phenomena exist outside of our concepts of them, and the work is in part about attempting a type of pre-reflective perception. Becoming conscious of nature’s ‘unboundedness’ or ‘unknowability’ reminds us of the conceptual fictions that we live by, and also offers us a way of being comforted by, or delighted by, the potential in the unknown. Shifts in perception must occur to develop new understandings and these slips are evoked, in the paintings, by lines and shapes that are elusive even as they take form.
In her essay Yonder, Siri Hustveldt describes “… mental spaces [that] map our inner lives more fully than any ‘real’ map, delineating the borders of here and there that also shape what we see in the present.” In 'Entangled', the scapes suggest a richness of this kind of mental space, a landscape of the mind that connects us simultaneously to the past as we go forward into the new. Processes of covering and uncovering, reminiscent of the wash of tide or memory, are visible in remnants of paintwork beneath the surface, while the quality of newness engages the viewer in a transparently subjective attempt to know – or see - afresh.
In alluding to ways that memory, experience, and environment are connected, the paintings suggest an inescapable – and beguiling - entanglement with the natural world.
Having spent most of her early childhood in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, it is not surprising that Angela Briggs (b.1968, Keiskammahoek) employs the natural world as a starting point to her painting. Fragments and layers coalesce in her imagery working together to form an idea of place. Briggs has taken part in numerous solo exhibitions and her most recent solo exhibition titled, 'There but not there' took place at the AVA in February 2012.