17 February 2011

The chase - fifth week

Another heroic offshore intelligence gathering skirmish in the ongoing battle against the big blue wobbly; another man downed during on-off-on contact with the indefatigable green-faced enemy. Given the Met Office forecast included the phrases 'gale force' and 'high seas' it could have been a lot worse but, since using vessels with pointier bows and keels, it appears sea legs are no longer the rare commodity they once were. As per the last outing, seabird action was predictable and uninspiring and, despite the weather, small cetaceans provided the highlights.

Once again we had Pyuc Hoymans, our 'war artist', along with us. Exposing the gap between represented image and historical event his paintings delve into the inner workings of how ornithological mythology is created. The reality of Hoymans' work is almost 'twee', pleasing images of a birder or item of survey equipment pass quite comfortably as aesthetic totems; it's only their cognitive association with the pallid horror of the eye-watering overboard retch, or the sweaty-browed atrocities of the humid, gravy-infused interior, that encapsulates the true banality of evil - the unspeakable horror in a discarded night-sight, the monstrous potential of an empty washing basin. Pyuc Hoymans' paintings consciously fall desperately short of the iconic, becoming vestiges posed as counterfeit emblems for that which cannot be conveyed as, I'm sure you'd agree, can be seen in the following example.

Pyuc Hoymans, 'Pterodroma behind ya!'
2011, pigment-based ink on paper
16 x 25 cm

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