I am near the forest, but never in it – Saskia Bunce-Rath

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4th Sep 2018 - 24th Sep 2018

I am near the forest, but never in it – Saskia Bunce-Rath

The form before you, it is restful, it remains stationary; but the moment the form receives colour, the inner movement of the colour stands out from the form, and the whirl of the world, the whirl of spirituality, permeates it.
—Rudolf Steiner, ‘The Creative World of Colour’, 1914

Spectacular weaves of colour and figure are constructed by Saskia Bunce-Rath in I am near the forest, but never in it. She invites viewers into a ‘potential future where humankind has perished and only strange half spirits remain.’ Mythical qualities are invoked through ambiguous autobiographical connections and motifs associated with Anubis, the canine headed Egyptian god, who watched over the dead.

The creatures wait in these hypothetical liminal spaces, asking the viewer to spend a moment of time as well; existing simultaneously between present and otherworldly future.
—Saskia Bunce-Rath

Bunce-Rath demonstrates a great level of control through colour and form. Threads, applied like brush strokes, create depth and an expressive directionality. Juxtaposed varying lengths of threads animate the scenes – dotted colour textures while elongated lines pull the eye through each piece. She employs Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual theories in which colour and soul are connected, certain tones achieving desired effects. This link to spirituality is furthered through references to the aura and the unseen around us. 

Composition and colour, though swirling and abstract, harken back to post-impressionist painting. As in the works of artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin colour and mark making is amplified. By vivifying these elements the artist manipulates the emotional resonance of the subjects and their places. 

These floating dream-like sequences are enhanced further by the artist’s use of accompanying text, which you can read here. In these short form poems Bunce-Rath imbues her works with extra layers of narrative often adding action or connotations to the creatures. Her wilfully enigmatic artworks and texts create space for the viewer to pause and contemplate.

Fading empire
you pick me up
in the apricot dusk

Is it the place for you
will you stop there?

I am often waiting on the rocks
and leave through a crack to say,
goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Turn and turn
I scream into the cracks of the sky
the sky shot through with purple
bodies floating in nothing

Through glassy eyes
the yellow and blue came again
and it made us heavy

Long empty dreams
the ferryman has gone
the boat has gone
he died in glowing yellow water
echoing over styx

The fire we’ve built
crushing the sun to sleep
the shadows scream

The bone dogs
the bone dogs plume down from the sky
roaming the earth

in giant heaving swathes
eating away the satellites, the spaces between atoms

I am not snow today
I am not snow today
I am falling down in the grey sky
I will eat all of you later

I turn him into shadows
and the forms disappear
the sky burning black

Fading empireSaskia Bunce-Rath
Is it the place for you?Saskia Bunce-Rath
I am often waiting on the rocksSaskia Bunce-Rath
Turn and turnSaskia Bunce-Rath
Through glassy eyesSaskia Bunce-Rath
Long empty dreamsSaskia Bunce-Rath
The fire we’ve builtSaskia Bunce-Rath
The bone dogsSaskia Bunce-Rath
I am not snow todaySaskia Bunce-Rath
I turn him into shadowsSaskia Bunce-Rath