Edgelands

Painting through its poetical emotion – Episode #3

The Irish artist Gillian Lawler explores the concepts of borders, edges, transitions and transformations in this new series of paintings, Edgelands. Since she has always been interested in the landscape and memory – where the tension between the real and the imaginary often resides – she re-elaborated those abandoned settlements, typical of her research, through the juxtaposition of imagined reality and actual reality.

The artist is constantly involved in renewing her pictorial language based on private and professional experiences, and recently she begun to split the canvas into two territories by drawing a borderline where geometric-abstract forms crossed over, were transformed, dissolved, dispersed or they are absorbed until they become territories of the mind; meditative spaces for the artist inhabited by platforms and scaffolding that allow her to reflect on the idea of ​​transformation and transition of life itself.

The exploration of these surreal places has further intensified in Edgelands, narrowing the gap between this world and the next, capturing the transience of life made up of fleeting moments in the loss of time and space in search of a borderless land, of an inner-world settled between the conscious and the unconscious.

Her backdrops – mere ghostly places – allow Lawler to imagine a timeline or an alternative dimension of these abstract spaces composed of fluctuating systems in perennial evolution. Many of these elements are simplified, reduced to their essence, to create daring perspectives through a series of indefinite structures and unique conceptual visions of space, time and existence. These ethereal places inhabited by improbable elements – which sometimes appear flamboyant other times camouflaged by elaborate motifs – create surreal landscapes that subvert reality, giving life to a mix between the two worlds.

Edgelands aims to break down those boundaries between the dreamlike and the real, an inviolate world made up of indefinite and ghostly bodies that connect through the symbolic use of the colour green. That colour “which mixture tends towards infinity” (Leonardo da Vinci, Treatise on painting, 1540) also tends towards very distant worlds and mystical territories.

It is not a coincidence that the well-known Turin parapsychologist and painter, Gustavo Rol, used green for his experiment on the matter since it has extraordinary energy and; it is a symbol of balance located in the centre of the iris. Rol wrote in his diary: “I have discovered a tremendous truth that ties the green colour, the fifth musical note and heat” (July 28, 1927). The “sublime consciousness” is the so-called secret with which Rol identified the arrival point of spiritual alchemy and creative force that allowed him to open the doors of alternative worlds, or rather than invisible dimensions that coexist within the three-dimensional reality of the material world. Also, according to Celtic mythology, it is assumed that spirits are able to travel between worlds (Tir nAill, the Gaelic word to define “other land”) by crossing natural axes. The various green-coloured structures introduced in the latest Gillian Lawler’s works thus become meeting points and links to cross over or connect these invisible worlds or other layers of existence. They become new natural axes and thus drawing attention to these geometric boundaries as the new places of possibility, mystery and beauty.

Featured image: Transformation IV, 2021. Oil on canvas, 100 x 70 cm, Ph credits and courtesy the artist.

Gillian LawlerEdgelands (13th January – 12th March 2022, Galleria Weber&Weber, Turin IT ). 

The exhibition is kindly supported by Culture Ireland.