Piers Greville

Moonlit Night, Rock Island Bend, 2020

Charcoal, oil on linen

51 x 71 CM

From the artist

Painted in a vulnerable thin charcoal emulsion, this landscape owes itself literally and figuratively to the stable grounding of carbon. But these smoky oneiric tones are also how I see this place: remaining a precious vessel for our collective dreams.

The original Peter Dombrovskis photograph of Rock Island Bend, far beyond the location it depicted– has come to represent ideas of conserving the natural environment. This painting is both homage to that image and challenge to its assumptions. This spot formerly seen as pristine and elusive, is now effectively impinged upon along with the rest of the planet. Rather than quoting the image directly, elevating it as a cultural artifact, I return to prioritise the location on google maps. In this mode of viewing, I’m taking a general global view from above and afar, yet also specifically situating that bend in that river.

In the manner of crosshair fiducial markers of the images taken on the Apollo missions to the moon, a colonizing grid underlies the landscape in this painting. While the grid’s intention is fiduciary (trusted) objectivity, its tension is discordant, to be resisted and abandoned like fence lines and other colonial markers. The landscape rails against the grid.