Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Floating World by Gareth Bate

Gareth Bate

Gareth Bate's painting series called The Floating World is currently on display at loop Gallery and runs until Sunday, July 17, 2011.

Gareth's artist statement for this series is presented below. The photos show his paintings in progress at his studio at 401 Richmond Street West.

The Floating World paintings are a kind of Vanitas. Scenes of great beauty suddenly engulfed by devastation. Imagine standing in wonder at the view before you, just as a Tsunami washes it all away. 

My recent work explores our ultimate scale and purpose in the universe. The landscapes and cosmos scenes are a metaphor for the beauty we experience. In the work, the universe represents a sense of endless possibilities, and yet an existential terror of our final insignificance. 

In Studio Shot by Gareth Bate
The tsunami represents total sublime horror. It is complete and utter devastation, indiscriminate and inescapable. The aerial video footage of the Japanese Tsunami was the most horrifying thing I've ever seen. It spread through entire cities and farmlands, demolishing and consuming everything in its path. All you have, including your life, can be swept away in an instant. Natural disasters are for me, one of the things that make a belief in God impossible.

Work in Progress by Gareth Bate
The title Floating World is obviously a reference to Japan, but it also represents the Earth itself. We are fragile and barely staying afloat. For the first time in years a human presence has returned to my work. Although these paintings could be seen as bleak, it is impossible for an artwork to be nihilistic. Making art is inherently about creating meaning out of life.