Out of the Shadows
2017 - 2018

“Battle with Invisible Monsters”

2018

Archival inks, oils and charcoal on paper.

900 mm x 1280 mm

“Our Sweet Lament” 

2017

Archival inks, oils and charcoal on paper.

900 mm x 1280 mm

 

“Suffocated by the Yearning”

2017

Archival inks, oils and charcoal on paper.

900 mm x 1280 mm

 

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” 

2017

Archival inks, oils and charcoal on paper.

900 mm x 1280 mm

“The storms of Prospero”

2018

Archival inks, oils and charcoal on paper.

900 mm x 1280 mm

“Persistent Presence”

2017

Archival inks, oils and charcoal on paper.

900 mm x 1280 mm

Installation

2018 

Duration: 30 min loop

Format 3112 px  x 4096 px

Approach

 

My interest lies in exploring the realms of the human psyche with specific interest in the unconscious encoding of the human mind. This body of work is the result of an ongoing investigation into the primitive unconscious, which Carl Jung identifies as “the Shadow”. A reoccurring theme, which is of both personal and academic interest. The work is an intersection of a number areas of interest, sci-fi films, psychology and photography.

 

In this series I specifically investigate Jung’s archetype “the Shadow”, a reference to an unconscious aspect of the personality, which the conscious ego does not identify. Jung stated the shadow to be the unknown dark side of the personality. Jung says: “We tend to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative, or the entirety of the unconscious, i.e. everything of which a person is not fully conscious. To know oneself, one must accept one’s dark side.” 

 

According to Jung, the shadow, being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection. Jung writes that if these projections remain hidden these projections insulate and harm individuals by acting as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world. Jung also believed that “in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—it was also the seat of creativity”.

 

I’ve always been captivated by Science Fiction films. It’s something that I geek out on, both on a cognitive and emotive level. In my studio hangs an original poster of the film “The Forbidden Planet”, 1956, which I acquired in 2002. The first notable science fiction film and one of the largest scale productions for MGM at the time. The story line was borrowed from The Tempest, written by William Shakespeare, 1610. In this Hollywood adaption a scientist, Dr Morbius gains access to the limitless mind enhancing technology of the Krell, an extinct alien race. 

 

The doctor, a rationale man of science by day, enhances his mind with the Krell’s technology with dangerous outcomes. As he dreams he unleashes a powerful unconscious projection, an Id monster that destroys anyone who threatens his agenda in the conscious world. His fears, manifested through technology, become a weapon for destruction. This concept has stayed with me ever since I first studied this film in my foundation years. Later in my professional life when I began working with creative psychologists developing a museum dedicated to human creativity, the same theme kept reoccurring, our relationship to power, technology enabling our own destruction and the darkside of our existence.

Practice

 

I am a contemporary artist who utilises both digital and analog processes in order to create an emotive resonance. The work here is a result of many hours of experimentation, a relentless desire to go beyond what is known.

 

In developing the approach for this body of work I researched Baroque painting as well as early photographic development techniques like the Daguerreotype process,1830’s. Both mediums share a similar reductive emotive quality, something I was interested in achieving in the digital domain.

 

Through abstraction I am looking for forms, themes and modalities that evoke a primal concept of the “Shadow”. I strive to use digital technology as an expressive tool that suggests the evocative nature of a post war modernist painting. My personal objective is to elevate digital art from a low-fi pixel aesthetic into a poetic, contemplative immersive experience where its origin is of little consequence.

 

This series “Out of the Shadows” is an extension of my work “Succumb” 2016, which was an exploration on addiction. I had already created a number of 30,000 frame sequences, which I was in the process of editing when I came across an intriguing error in the code. The irregularity in code had inverted in on itself whilst simultaneously breaking into many fractured shards. The abstract image had triggered childhood memories encoded in a primal reserve, which for me connected with Dr. Morbius dreams. 

 

The video work came later, using the static paintings as a foundation, the modality then shifted to time and spatial thinking. The movement of one ambiguous form into another, digital and analog intertwining taking on a mercurial nature. Then the process becomes more like music composition, each element orchestrated much like a symphony, each element contributing to the whole. Scale becomes imperative, I want the viewer to be immersed in the experience, hence the 6K (Imax resolution) projection. I imagine viewer being completely dwarfed by a universe of form, tone and light, soliciting primal triggers into the subconscious.

 

Finally, the soundscape I created by sampling electromagnetic frequencies from outer space, specifically white noise frequencies. Audio composition is an ongoing process of collection and recording, often without a specific intent. These tones are then fed through various speakers and then re-recorded with various feedback loops and organic harmonics. The sound is never scored to an image - it stands alone. When they are merged there is no further editing. They are two seperate modalities that exist in space and time, sometimes in harmony, sometimes discordant.

© Kenneth Craig Lambert 2020
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