My interest in perspective and how it influences my paintings is an important part of my work. However I am not creating perspective from scratch, I already have the perspective from the photographs I use as inspiration for the subject matter, from these photographs is where the choices are made. This is where I decide what to alter, finding the central point and symmetry and working out the vanishing point.
Perspective refers to how you represent objects which exist in three-dimensional spaces on a two-dimensional surface, for example, a canvas. This is something which I find to be a technical skill of an artist and something that many spend a lifetime trying to perfect.
Throughout art history artists have played with perspective within their paintings, especially landscape artists. I find Bridget Riley’s abstract paintings and prints very interesting. Her work explores optical illusions and effects; she tries to trick the eye to see her flat prints as moving and by manipulating linear perspective, Riley creates three-dimensional abstract shapes. Similarly M. C. Escher creates these effects, with his lithograph print, ‘Relativity’, which depicts a world in which the normal laws of gravity and perspective do not apply, creating a labyrinth of stairs and confusion.
Thinking about laws of perspective and how light and shadows work within a space is of course a big part of my work ‘Empty’, which embodies many technical processes to perceive arches, corridors and flights of stairs within a multi-structural three-dimensional space. This painting uses a 2 point perspective, where the light and shade play such an important and effective role. This piece will be exhibited at the Well’s Contemporary Art Exhibition 28th August to 26th September 2021.
Perspective is perhaps one of the most difficult things for artists to master in their work, to achieve a result which correctly perceives a space as the eye would, or can give an illusion of surrealism within an artwork. Inspired by cubist space, David Hockney shows the importance of realistic perspective by creating abstracted depictions of his studio. Here you can see that his jumbled up representation of Pembroke Studio doesn’t fit the general ‘rules’ of perspective but creates the impression of perioral vision and how objects seem to bend when out of focus.
I am fascinated by perspective because of the patterns it creates. ‘The Block’ is another early example of my interest in perspective, colour and pattern. The coloured balconies create an interesting vertical perspective, which is not usually used in art. The camera lens adds distortion, creating patterns that I have then translated into my work and the painting explores the colours and light and shade created on the building – the angles create a whole different perspective which I think works especially well in this piece.
All in all, however one chooses to perceive perspective and how they use the rules to create visually ‘correct’ representations of reality or controlling it to create mentally stimulating misinterpretations of 3-D as illusions, it is clearly an important consideration for artists like myself, and especially those who choose to create work that perceives spaces and landscapes.