LondonTai Shan Schierenberg: Figuring the Landscape
“During this past year, while the great outdoors has been denied to us, I felt the need to tackle nature in my work again, with a view to investigating our deepseated need for a connection with it, our romantic idealisation of it, and the myths of its power as a panacea.” – Tai Shan Schierenberg
Flowers Gallery presents an exhibition of new works created over the last 18 months by British painter Tai Shan Schierenberg.
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In this exhibition, nature is represented in a series of remembered landscapes and seascapes, which appear desolate and unpopulated or sparsely inhabited by lone figures. Schierenberg describes this sequence of works as “selfportraits of sorts,” creating archetypal characters and metaphors within the landscape to navigate personal experience. In paintings such as Mirage, Bodies of Water and No Man is an Island, reflections in the mirrorlike surfaces of lake and ocean suggest states of division or flux. Schierenberg describes these works as contemplating isolation and disconnectedness, while also representing distortions of reality and the nature of illusion.
The painting Ancient Ritual explores our enduring fascination with fire, making reference to the story of Prometheus from Greek Mythology, and his dangerous gift to humankind. Blazing high into the forest sky, the fire appears to be reaching the very limits of control.
The Past is Another Country depicts a fleeting, shifting landscape as seen through the windows of a car. The vehicle is a recurring motif in Schierenberg’s paintings, relating to the artist’s peripatetic early childhood spent on the road traversing the landscapes of Europe and North Africa. The fluid experience of movement here suggests the passage and cycle of time continuing throughout the generations, a theme that is also strongly reflected in the lunar tide of Old Moon. By equating the rhythms of nature with what he terms the ‘seasons’ of human experience, Schierenberg raises the question: “when we turn to nature, do we do so to understand and find ourselves?”
Tai Shan Schierenberg: Figuring the Landscape, Flowers Gallery, Cork Street, 2021