Strangely, sometimes it is only when vision has been blurred that an image burns most clearly, allowing the eye to see what it would normally overlook. In the exhibition Trace, ArtEco Gallery is proud to present works by Jules Clarke, Mirna Krešić and Andrew Leventis. Through their varied yet complementary works, a dialogue of shifting perspectives and blurred lines brings to light delicate traces of movement, a complex interplay of light and, like time-worn photographic prints or blurry newspaper prints, a sense of past moments, captured, archived and rediscovered once more.
"My paintings form a space in which to explore the residue of a passing moment, or, rather, the imprint of an event", explains Jules Clarke. "The fluidity of paint is used to describe how one moment becomes another." In seeking to create a visual expression of memory, the American-born artist finds inspiration from photographs taken from moving images in popular film and television, as well as Internet and private family footage. "The process of painting becomes a form of resistance against the constant flow of images and the fast pace of technology," she continues. Through subjects that feel as if they are floating, struggling to remain upright, flitting in and out of focus like the ghosts of forms, Clarke seeks to materialise in paint the areas where the camera has struggled to process an image, "where the fragility of withdrawing a still image from a moving one is revealed, and figures begin to erase themselves or become part of their surroundings."
Similarly, in the works of fellow American Andrew Leventis, still life moments from photographs snapped of period dramas on television form the basis of his oeuvre. With their shifting focus, obscured faces and dramatic use of shadow, a sense of intimacy is achieved, yet coupled with an air of mystery. "I am concerned with the tension that is created between the painted and the technological image," he says. "The filter of the digital screen is meant to index the appearance of looking back at the past from the vantage of the present." By exploring how contemporary television borrows configurations from painting, Leventis borrows back from the cinematic designs of what we see on our own television screens today, giving each scene a new visual and emotional depth. "At a certain point, still life becomes portraiture, as the boundary is blurred between person and thing," he muses. "Objects become symbolic portraits and people become illustrated possessions… this kind of 'still-life portraiture' seems contradictory in that it equates people with objects, yet it also valorises the character of the individual." Indeed, it is at this very blurring of distinction between still life and portraiture that Leventis locates his practice.
Finally, for Croatian-born Mirna Krešić, it is the opening up of new spaces, as matrices for visual associations, memories and feelings that act as the recurring theme in her works. Searching for a place before and beyond words, she explores the "infinite probabilities of becoming or fading away through a fragile balance of visual marks," a space before and beyond words, a space of infinite probabilities and possibilities, at once coming to life and fading away. These marks come to life as monochrome, stormy paintings, fine slashes of pigment like dark rain, or delicate, blurry images with flecks of delicate hues, sometimes bursting into entire canvases composed of pools of colour. "It is through the eyes and mind of the viewer," she says, "that the painting reveals its true possibilities - each time has the potential to be intimately different."
"What draws the works together is the sense of dreamscape they invoke," explains the gallery's Kristin Hjellegjerde. "Akin to the works of Richter, whether through the subdued colours of Leventis and Clarke, or the nearly mono-chromatic pieces of Krešić, these three artists are brought together through the gentle traces of lines, life and existence. Together, they can bring the viewer to a different place - a world of gentle stories and humble feelings."