Pixellating Landscape

Pixellating

2013

Dimensions: 4′ x 6′

Oils on Canvas

 

I haven’t travelled much, so when I went to British Columbia this summer, I was in heaven. But while there, I couldn’t help being a bit pessimistic while thinking about the future of such a breath-taking place. Would the trees soon be replaced by buildings, and the mountains covered in garbage? Would the Pacific ocean become Lake Ontario? Would beautiful images have to replace ugly reality?

As I saw the amount of people photographing the landscapes with their cell phones and tablets, I also started to think about the accessibility of photography and how it would affect the future of painting, specifically observational painting. How long would it be before the analogue processes of image making would be undermined by digitally produced images?

I created this painting, with a photograph as a reference and photoshop as a sketchbook, to respond to my own troubling thoughts. Although the initial idea was to use fluorescent colours to paint straight edged squares that lay flatly on top of the landscape, I decided against it. The pixels are now similar colours to the colours of the landscape, with wobbly edges, bordering on organic, and there’s overlap between them and the landscape.

I changed my mind halfway about how to paint the pixels because I want to believe that there’s an alternative to the bleak scenario described above. There’s always a possibility that our future will have technology that takes us beyond the impossible, bring us larger than life digital and analogue images… as well as technology that will help preserve the natural, wild, free beauty of our planet. I want to think of a future in which the old and the new are in harmony rather than in a struggle to overtake each other. And this painting is a depiction of that hope.