SMAC Art Gallery 01

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The Island

Jake Aikman
The Island, 2014. Oil on Board 150 x 210 cm.

‘Confini Velati’

Jake Aikman at Centro Luigo di Sarro

‘Confini Velati’ or ‘Veiled Boundaries’ continues where ‘At the Quiet Limit’ left off. Aikman delves deeper into basic existential questions posed by an explorative journey into the unfamiliar and focuses more specifically on the impenetrable physical boundaries, as well as the foreboding psychological apprehension which surrounds a confrontation with the unknown. This theme is ever-present in Aikman’s work and is compared to similar quests portrayed in iconic cinematic classics such as ‘Aguirre, The Wrath of God’ (1972) by Werner Herzog and Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979). Aikman also acknowledges the influence of contemporary artists such as Gerard Richter and Peter Doig and significantly, one of Aikman’s first formative paintings was titled ‘Canoe Sea (Doig vs Richter)’ (2008), highlighting an early interest in merging conceptual ideas with atmospheric and sensory images that seduce and challenge the viewer.

The imagery in Aikman’s paintings stems from personal journeys to remote locales including Nicaragua, Indonesia and various trips around Southern Africa. The current body of work features a large ominous painting titled, ‘The Island’ (2014), where a relatively harmless outcropping of land is surrounded by a tangible aura of Hitchcockian suspense and the anxiety of the viewer is projected onto the work whilst the artist reveals as little as possible. This element of artistic restraint is typical of Aikman’s land and seascapes, which evoke mystery and uncertainty, despite their tranquil and serene ‘veil’. The total absence or subtle hints of human presence is intentional and troubles the viewer as both the physical landscape of thick impermeable bush and forests and the elusiveness of a distant light or faint glimmer from a tent, taunt us to believe that there is someone or something out there, but they are unreachable. In this sense Aikman is clearly expanding his metaphor to everyday life and the human condition.

'This enigmatic new body of work is both silently overwhelming and alarming in its quiescence. Here the daunting elements of nature seem to remind us of a larger world around us and our fear and concerns of an absolute separation from ourselves, as we hunger to understand, desire to feel safe and connect as part of a greater whole surrounding us, these paintings serve to beautifully address our deepest existential concepts of isolation.' Julia Teale, 2014

05 June - 20 June



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