I’ve been working on a series of drawings and paintings focusing on the primal landscape as metaphor; geological time beyond personal or general human scale.
Images of landscapes affect us for both physical and psychological reasons; they evoke genetically encoded instincts that we rarely think of. They are the providers of the heritage of human needs, though they also contain threats; threats of violent upheavals, storms, fire, floods, and most of all, a reminder of humans’ fragility and vulnerability. We aren’t always at the top of the food chain. Landscapes remind us of where we came from.
In our developed world we rarely encounter awe as it relates to our physical surroundings. Our perception implies the immutability of the grand eternal landscape, yet at the same time we're acutely aware of environmental vulnerabilities. Generally for most of developed societies, these perceptions are intellectual not physical. As biological organisms we live in the now, but unlike most other organisms we have the higher-function capability to understand past and future in time scales beyond our life spans, These can be contradictory concepts that we struggle to balance, because the seduction of NOW can obscure all else. We live surrounded by our own constructs; human-made environments which through technological development immerse us in a bubble of immediate information-entertainment-gratification and relative comfort. Having reduced our exposure and experience of primal landscape-inspired awe, we’ve narrowed our perception of time.
The stark tones of the images are developed with ink, a wet medium I'm drawing with, (pen or brush), and hand-ground charcoal, a dry medium I apply with a brush. The materials reflect humanities interaction with the environment: for charcoal I cut down trees, split them to size, burn them for heat in my stove over the winter, hand-grind the remaining solid chunks of charcoal and paint with the fine powder on organic-based paper or canvas. Other materials include topographical maps, composition leaf, and steel.
-George Kozmon 2013