The Light in the World is Without a Significant Planfeatures the works of three UK-based female artists and their response to the complex relationship between architecture and light. By creating or reproducing a controlled environment, they examine the ways light interacts with different shapes and play with the direction and path it naturally takes.
Zsofia Schweger is a Hungarian-born artist who questions her identity through the exploration of spaces and places, both real and imagined. While the real interiors are drafted from her memories, the depiction of imagined places allows a possibility and potentiality for their existence.
With the use of a muted palette, she welcomes the viewer’s curiosity to visit the depicted surroundings, with furniture and elements alluding to domestic spaces and contributing to the idea of ‘home’. This sense of welcoming comfort is rapidly rejected through the use of one-point perspective, which create a shallow depth of field and a sense of impenetrability. Opaque, flat colour blocks are achieved through careful planning and paint application, and they accentuate the two-dimensional nature of the paintings. The complete absence of depicted shadow generates motionless metaphysical interiors, preventing them from being occupied, with a stillness discarding movement and therefore, life as well.
Jemma Appleby investigates the subject of architecture and space through her work. Opening the dialogue, Appleby opposes Schweger’s perspective and aesthetic by using black charcoal to create precise architectural shapes by hand. She captures the way light interacts with various structures and the different shadows they create.
At first approach the subjects seem abstract, but upon noticing the shapes’ smooth surfaces, the viewer notices a ‘real’ element to it with the light absorbing one’s attention and shadows confirming their authenticity. Only parts of the buildings are shown, confirming the architecture is not the focus point, but an accessory to the subject of the painting, which is the light. Through this, a perspective is created, following its natural path, a technique alluding to the chiaroscuro concept and aesthetic.
In relation to Appleby, Susan Phillips seems to bring these subjects to life. Comparable to Giorgio Morandi, Phillips examines almost exclusively the shapes portrayed. Her aesthetic involves simplifying shapes to an initial stage. By reducing their size and removing their colour, she captures their true essence.By doing so, she is able to find which shapes, although in opposition, can create harmonious relationships. Her construction and work are inspired by Brutalist architecture, giving it a sense of grandiosity and monumentality despite its fragility in size and materials. Creating these sculptures with porcelain clay gives them a rough surface, absorbing and inviting light to play with it. Their display is ever-changing as it depends on the time of day and the way light hits the structure and interacts with its environment.