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Mandatory Fields
Simon Knowles;
Solo Exhibition, The Private Collector's Gallery, Inishannon, Ireland
Optional Fields
A Solo Exhibition of my paintings held at The Private Collector¿s Gallery, Inishannon, Ireland

Artist's Statement: 2004.

I first started painting Cork Harbour in the late 1990s.  This first series of small works on paper gave rise to a second body of abstract work titled Still Blue World.  A recent commission brought me back to the harbour and a renewed interest in its rapidly changing and visually ephemeral qualities. The set of two paintings on paper, titled Harbour Study were all made, as were the earlier works, from a place in Cobh known locally as the Black railings. These works then gave rise to the larger works on paper and gesso panel which were made in the studio. The generic title of these works is kept deliberately unspecific allowing for the fact that these paintings, while referring to Cork Harbour, are at the same time a quite different place, one which can only be visited by standing in front of the work. 

Alongside these paintings of my immediate locale are a series of works titled Europa.  Europa is the name of one of Jupiter's moons, but like the rather unspecific use of the word 'Harbour', this word might also refer to Europe or to some aspect of Europe. To underline this possibility visual elements taken from the Harbour series are incorporated into these canvases. Like the Harbour series, these paintings offer a kind of map to a place that can only be visited through the work. In this way both the very near (Cork Harbour) and the very far (Europa) are brought together and reinvented through a common visual language - as is the modus operandi for all maps - to demonstrate how it is a painting can take you anywhere you want to go and bring you back again.

This issue of the near and far is further amplified by the visual debate that exists between these two sequences of work.  The Harbour series, still essentially figurative, with its interlocking blocks of colour, refers to the world seen from near at hand, a perceived reality; while the Europa series, essentially non-figurative, with its mottled surfaces and inscribed lines, refers to a place seen from a great distance, as if from a satellite, showing a world that can only be imagined, a conceived reality.  Yet in spite of the polarity between here and there the inclusion of photographic references shows how one place can be like the other, referencing the alchemical idea of as it is above so its is below, or, put another way, as with the map and the place which it describes. It could be said that these paintings are positioned on the line that separates the known and the local (that which is recognisable) from the unknown and the distant (that which is imagined), making concrete the line that lies between here and there.

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