BROCK Q PIPER: Caught in another realm…

“Painting for me has always been like another language, some kind of ancient text that no one quite knows how to pronounce.”

Considering Brock Q Piper’s work at length it became apparent that although he and Francis Bacon are far removed in time and personal experience and Piper’s work less invested with an obvious psychological edge which generally characterises Bacon’s work, there are similarities in the depiction of subject matter.  Different realities appear to merge and overlap spontaneously in a single work. Chronological time is irrelevant realities are in a constant state of change.

The last summer, mixed media on canvas, 2017, 140 x 140cm

“Fragments that come and go from our present, appearing, then lost again. They seem to twist and change and reform in our minds, barely tangible, constantly evolving with the addition of time and experience.”

This is confirmation of the notion that while there are infinite truths and realities, at any one time or moment it is only personal truths (or realities) that can be verified; with that verification, a moment has passed never to be fully glimpsed again.  However, aspects can linger; the evidence confirmed in the distinct scraps or remnants of patterns which reappear in many of the works.

“Growing up in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, I have always been fascinated by birds in flight. The way they fold themselves, twist and contort their colourful bodies to float effortlessly through the trees. A blur in time, caught in another realm, between the past and the present.”

As human beings, we cannot “neatly” separate the past from the present or the future; when we search for an image of ourselves we can never ultimately or finally pin it down because we are always a little bit of all our experience; although it seems absurdly self-evident, we are sort of all of our lives at once. Bacon’s triptych 1970, is a splendid example that our entire background is present in some form somewhere in our consciousness; no matter how hard we might try we can never separate out the constituent parts of our lives completely; one thing leads to another and another and another…

“Working the image up in layers to allow the forms to evolve and dissolve on the canvas.”

The works exhibit various textures and are a union of two and three dimensions; the faint diamond-shaped forms, u-shaped textile-like patterns as well as three dimensional visceral forms co-habit the canvas’ in circulation.  While apparently ground in the sequencing of different realities they become surreal in the out-of-order and multi-dimensional appearance of those realities.

Piper’s works are invigorating and dynamic and appear instinctive; an effusion of colour, shape and pattern, encompassing diverse elements which seem to draw on both figurative and abstract sources. They exhibit a melange of subject matter incorporating visceral aspects with flat planes and textured surfaces; surfaces that resemble textiles or wallpaper.  While Bacon’s forms are generally dense and heavy, Pipers’ have a comparatively light, spontaneous touch, a sense that the works are evolving or shifting more quickly in time.

Rich and evocative, beautiful and commanding, in each work aspects of all the other works in the series seem present.  The explosive beauty of the shapes, forms and patterns seem to constantly evolve from a central core of imagery.

The way it’s found, mixed media on canvas, 2017, 140 x 140cm

“For me, the act of painting is one of dredging the past. A way of forging a visual story by conjuring history. It is a cathartic act of interpreting and understanding self and lived experiences. There is a little part of you that gets left behind in the work, like a shard of your soul embedded within the layers of paint.”

The works present as complex collages mediating the big questions of both personal and human existence as well as actual with imaginary existence; life as a palimpsest of highs and lows with plateaus in between.  Leitmotif-like patterns and shapes travel from work to work in different contexts suggesting that the sum of our experience is always available; it may be that a new activity is required to awaken a long forgotten memory but it is there nevertheless.   As humans we appropriate parts of our history to different ends; in this day and age appropriation is also a condition of the digital world.

Digital Arts Mirium Harris says, “As our world becomes increasingly global, brands imagery will become more cross-cultural and socially borderless…Our world holds acceptance of everyone’s differences as the utmost high virtue.”

In terms of symbolism these works could be read as symbols of the mash of imagery constantly invading our lives from social media platforms.   But ironically as the above quote shows, individuality has risen out of “global sameness” and has become something to revere.  What stands out in this series of work is the power of the imagery as singular.

The individual will interpret them in terms of his or her existence. They could be read as a splintering of human existence; people being pulled every which way by societal expectations, an idea that invests them with universal qualities, especially in terms of the impact of an over digitalised world on everyday life.  Piper’s act of working is similar,  “As an exploration of self, I am dissecting my life as if it were a specimen pinned down to be examined, twisted and manipulated into its final resolution.”

The works offer myriad readings and much more could be said, but above all the graphic colourful impact is arresting, they are simply beautiful to look at and one never tires of doing so.

Unless otherwise stated text in parentheses is quoted by Brock Q Piper via email 20th Nov 2017

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