April 5 - June 1, 2019
HDJ Studio Gallery
With a strong interest in environmentalism, 'Upcoming Memories' will guide the viewer through juxtaposition of miniature landscape paintings placed in colourful bottle tops and installation of natural elements with modern life images about lonely shoppers in shopping malls painted on transparent plastic lids, thus celebrating sense of wonder at the beauty of the natural world.
Artist's Statement Inguna Gremzde _
Gremzde's practice explores the complex relationship between humans and nature referring to landscape as a portrait of nature. Facing the world today the landscape has become not only a portal through which to consider traditional notions of beauty and the sublime, but also a framework to examine society, identity and ecology. The exhibition conveys an ambiguity of space, place and time, whilst questioning the expanding footprint of human activity and reflects on intersection of the natural and industrial worlds.
In Gremzde's works nature is regarded as a focus for the formation of individual and community's identity. Growing alienation from nature, habitation in cities and dominating consumer lifestyle results in more time spent in constructed, artificial spaces monitored by surveillance cameras like shopping malls and waiting halls defined as non-places, which being real measure of our time have no identity, relations and history. The scene of nature paid close look at as opposite can open itself to reveal a secret life, a narrativity and history outside the given field of perception.
Miniature landscape paintings placed in standardized plastic bottle caps are a small world on it's own without national restrictions depicting sky, fields and woods, surrounded by contemporary frame. Even not showing any trace of human presence the scenes compare contemporary consumer lifestyles with man's historically romantic relationship with nature. These small landscapes could have been intended for looking at when seized by a vague feeling of necessity to escape from undefined urban environment. Conceptually miniature scale could be regarded as a reference to the shrinking space of unaltered nature. The work in the same time investigates the common trend of landscape being regarded as unclean and unsafe unless neatly packaged, managed, labeled and turned into commodity. Important aspect of the project was to upcycle discarded caps, attempting to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste in the world in some way.
''13 Hours Older'' consisting of 13 landscape paintings on different sized plastic lids depicts subsequent moments in time. The work references selective nature of memory with moments leaving different degrees of impact.
The warm tones captured in landscapes at sunset allow for contemplation, a sense of time passing and deep reflection. The sun setting like any other evening stars in unique theatrical performance staging a background to possibilities that might have happened in viewer's life over the course of 13 hours and prompting a guess which moments would be picked to be relished as golden memories.
The other part of project features paintings of a figure, seeming the same person, dressed black-and-white wandering in plastic world or non-place, casting no shadow, each movement being monitored by surveillance cameras. Alone, but one of many, user of non-place is in contractual relations with it, a form of reminder being empty trolley he trundles round the supermarket. These round shaped images reminding of spy hole exploring the patterns of collective behavior and carrying a sense of dystopia masked by artificial supermarket environment are both intimate miniatures and mass-produced portraits of single figure on non-narrative shopping trip. A walk through aisles with choices to make and decisions to take also serves as a metaphor of the life itself, for the thoughts and feelings of the human condition. The image painted on the reverse side of transparent plastic lid locks the inhabitant of the scene behind the plastic screen as opposite the directness of landscapes in brightly-coloured bottle tops.
And finally ''Wonderful World'' aims to give a glimpse of insight in biodiversity. The installation consisting of over 200 miniature abstract square compositions while preserving the examples of different species celebrates nature as an inventor of forms and textures. The work also investigates notions of possesion, collection and cataloguing.
In Gremzde's practice natural elements are often juxtaposed with plastic ready-mades from the viewpoint of materiality, also reflecting on one of a kind nature of hand made painting versus impersonality of manufactured object. The works reference their hybrid status as image, object and installation. They are mostly exhibited as a groups of numerous single pieces to reveal their greatest impact through a repetitive structure on the wall. There, to a certain degree, images lose their individual character in order to expose a common formal and conceptual stand. At the same time like in any repetitive strategy the serial method boosts its single image as its formal visuality and intellectual concept get multiplied.