Glancing through the works of Canadian-born, NZ-based contemporary artist, Micheline Robinson, I was instantly struck with a serious case of the feels.
Here is work that speaks both to outer and inner landscapes, of cities and country spaces, giving voice to those things which are often silently understood yet deeply experienced: In short, the at-times bleak yet powerfully-charged jaggedness of survival.
In the series Of Jagged Black Rocks, Wind, Sea and Branches, she notes of the landscape, “It is as if the whole had been lifted up in a whirlwind and thrown back into the centre of the canvas.”
In her artist statement, she explains some of her process:
“This recent series of works is called “Of jagged black rocks, sea, wind and branches” and is part of a larger series of monochromatic pieces where I have been trying to evoke space and time. I have always been fascinated with the jagged black rocks on the coast up State Highway 1. They were the first landmarks to our recent arrival to NZ 3 years ago where I was struck with the rawness of the landscape and could feel a sense of danger, of urgency. I had wanted to capture that somehow and the switching to monochrome allowed this thought to be communicated more easily. I tried to reduce the whole power of the coast where I live to a bundle, as if the whole was caught in a small tornado and thrown together onto the middle of the canvas. Only black ink and egg varnish were used and each piece created instinctively in one sitting without retouch. They are also a nod to modern black and white photography where some elements are frozen and some capture movement.
The works are a step away from my detail filled and colourful pieces of my other recent ink works but are in line with the thought process. As a friend said to me, “The land vibrates with energy” and I am trying to recreate this. I still feel my experience here in NZ as surreal. Some days I forget and focus on the normal human day to day and then other times, it hits me. Especially when I walk at night and see the Milky Way (something I witnessed only once before). I feel much more connected to earth living here. Earth in the sense of nature but also of its place in our universe. Most of my works are now glass-like worlds, replicating amalgamations of patterns in nature, whilst playing with our perceptions of light and space. My intuitive mind creating illusions of three dimensional landscapes that the subconscious has rendered into thickets, vineyards and other images that were collected whilst tramping through the countryside. By depicting geographical space at its most simple form, I believe the essence of the image transcends geopolitical boundaries of our world and allows the viewer to connect, regardless of experiences.
My works are ever evolving and am continually trying to express myself more effectively whilst trying to push forward the language of paint. They also record my journey and experiences and are more or less large visual diaries. Because of this, I find working in series suits rather than sticking to a particular style. Once I have thoroughly exhausted a subject, I will move on to the next one. My approach to a series will also vary in medium and size as the ultimate aim is to express an idea or a feeling as effectively as I can. Therefore over the years I have created works that have gone from large hyper-realistic portraits in oils to small loose watercolour abstracts.”
Exhibbit Kapiti, Raw Bush Glass Landscape series:
Micheline’s series guide the observer through her own captured artistic observations without forcing the individual meaning or experience contained therein.
No stranger to the uprooting of one’s life in one space to make way for another, I particularly enjoyed Exploring The Chaos in the series Uprooting (observing/exploring the chaos 2012-2013):