Complexity. Oil on canvas. 84” x 60”
Video link to idea and painting in progress: https://youtu.be/cgI_m1nO8-Y
Website link for Death Mask: https://leannemchristie.com/deathmask/
Latitude and Longitude: 49.277232, -123.099322 (approx)
The little story:
‘Complexity’ is the first painting in the body of works that uses the Vancouver Viaducts as their subject. This body of works is the death mask of these monuments in a city void of strong political statues that are homages to a particular worldview and they are a deep dive into complexity and what this means in the context of painting.
‘Complexity’ is the view west as you stand in the middle of these urban canyons. Here, a small human being in the large Urban Landscape, you feel dwarfed and awed. The hard granite surface, the power of the form, the concrete aged with time, the stereo roar of the traffic and the magnetic force of the city as the viaducts suck and spit you out of her core.
Complexity in the context of painting is to harness time as an active and passive participant to change the flavour of the painting in the same way that time changes the urban landscape and introduces complexity. ‘Complexity’ was the first successful painting to achieve this. Passive time or the idea of change that is brought about by the simple passing of time was naturally harnessed by using one of the distinctive properties of oils – their long drying time.
The painting is built to a point of completion and then intentionally broken down back to the canvas. This process was done over and over again with the painting achieving multiple beginnings and multiple endings. The final result is a painting with a rich surface texture that feels like the concrete corridor and a looping and folding of time as a result of the layers that have captured different moments in one 2d surface.
David Bowie died while ‘Complexity’ was being painted and because of the above process, some areas are the original-now-stained canvas that is part of a world when Bowie was alive and other areas are thick with paint that was part of a world after Bowie.