PRISM is pleased to present Free Roam above the Mist, Jonathan Zawada’s second solo presentation at the gallery.
The exhibition is centred around an expansive suite of oil paintings ― painted depictions of digital renders of the Elbe Sandstone Mountainscapes, a topography most significant as a site represented by Caspar David Friedrich in Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.
Zawada’s interest in Friedrich’s work concentrates on his employment of third-person perspective, which is the resonant concern of this exhibition. With an understanding of painting as a pre-digital example of the virtual, Zawada conceives a dialogue between three texts: Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Friedrich Nietzche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the video game Red Dead Redemption. Third-person perspective is shared between these three sources, a commonality that points towards Zawada’s wider interest in metaphysics, perceptual reality, transitional landscapes and narrative agency.
To compose these paintings, Zawada creates computer renders of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains from data summarising the area. The results are digitised landscapes formed from singularly-coloured triangles. The triangular planes are threaded together to give the appearance of mountains and valleys that have evidently been digested by a computer program. Zawada paints from an image on a computer monitor, working from the unstable, flickering pixels to establish a stable, pictorial object.
Along with these capacious, geometric landscapes, Zawada presents a series of sculptures that approach virtuality from other angles: a video installation of an equivocal skyscape; material attempts to describe visual elements of Red Dead Redemption; and a cast, copper-plated head, which seems to be slipping from a geometric approximation of a man’s head, towards the more organic forms of a human face. These sculptures are attentive to the inevitable perceptual shifts and lost fidelity when translating images to objects and objects to images.
An opening reception for Free Roam above the Mist will be held at PRISM from 7 – 9pm on Saturday 8 September, 2012. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, available from the gallery.