Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Rokeby Venus's Arse

Just one day to go before this weekend's Garden Party show at the PITT Project Space. here are a few words about what I've been up to. 

The Nu School of Contemporary Landscape Painting (NuCON) draws inspiration from the Microsoft screensaver depicting a somewhat nondescript hill, possibly somewhere in the United State of America.

For some kids, hardwired into online status recognition, their head in the cloud in some inner city urban ghetto this might be the first hill they ever see; Mount Para for the digital age, the meeting point where nature impinges on a virtual world. For the older, casual browser however, this green unpleasant mound might have become the point at which, the laptop having pinged into life they are forced into a decision, to choose between googling leisure wear and/or an evening browsing t&a through dead eyes, glass of Merlot in one hand, unresponsive mouse in the other.

This is a conventionally sexual hill, a gently undulating yet threateningly tilting tit or belly, the latest in a line that links the Rokeby Venus’s arse, Courbet’s Origin of the World and Andrew Wyeth’s Christine’s World, minus house, barn and girl. It might even be called Depilation Valley, shorn as it is of trees, shrubs, not a bush in sight. Nothing to spoil the view: everything revealed, all concealed.

We wonder what is the other side of it, what lurks just out of sight to the right, over the brow of the hill, those hills in the distance, menacing, inviting. Silent.

How did this seemingly ordinary image become arguably the most recognisable landscape in the world; more famous than a Constable hedgerow, Turner Wheat field or Stubbs’ pony, in leafy arbours languidly resting?


  1. Where is 'The Playboy Mansion'? Is this related?!

  2. The shape of the hill in the 'Playboy' paintings is based on the same shape as the Microsoft (it was Microsoft and not Apple?). The bunnies were chosen to balance out the chalk men who were hunting them, plus I liked the titles and wanted pictures to go with them. These reperesent the paring (or even dumbing down) of landscape to a single main curve with a smaller one in the bottom right corner to give depth.

    Hope that helps!