Neil Callander

Healing Grounds

Jackson’s Painting Prize 2020
Muslin panel
76cm diameter

“Cinema is the king of narrative. Photography is a much more efficient form of documentation. Music is superior at catharsis. Television and the Internet own propaganda. That leaves painting the domains of materiality and ambiguity. I pack a painting with cultural and personal references and work toward an image that is provocative yet narratively flexible. As more is added the compositions grow denser, tighter, and more intricate over time – like the tangle of a garden in late summer. The act of viewing my paintings is an unlocking of these internal relationships. Experiencing dense paintings that slowly reveal their nature can help us contend with the pervasiveness of fast-talking, slick images. In a media-riddled world, painting is a stabilizing force.

I construct elaborate setups and paint them through careful observation, focusing on the meanings objects collect post-consumption as they enter and participate in our lives. I sidestep Pop Art’s ironic vision, and instead borrow stylistically from Flemish Golden Age painters to comment on material abundance in American culture. Of particular influence is the master of the crowded market stall, Frans Snyders, who mixed symbols of life and death, while embracing nasty moments as part of a delightful whole.”