Katie H Watson
In this work, ‘Shimmering Silage’, the value of power is expressed. Man is the most immediate source of power in this painting: he imposes structures and patterns on nature to achieve order, security and maximum crop yields; he takes ownership of the land, setting up clear boundaries, and drives out wildlife that are not obviously beneficial to his industries. The intense labour required to carve out a piece man-made order from dense forest wilderness is reflected in the laborious process used to create this work. Thick layers of paint are cut through with tools traditionally used for woodcut to make a rich, patterned surface.
The contours of the hill in this painting, as represented in the stripes of cut grass snaking around the slopes, as well as the dense, mysterious darkness of the trees in the top right corner, all indicate a power in nature that can never be completely suppressed by man’s will.
I wanted this painting to cause people to think on the ways human beings exploit and abuse the environment, and how they serve innate desires to have mastery over the world and leave behind a sculptural legacy.