Night Realms marks the first collaboration between Kristian Day and Edinburgh's Arusha Gallery, a group show featuring the work of Hamish Pearch, Margaux Valengin, Markus Vater, Ana Milenkovic, Rafal Topolewski and Christopher Orr.
This cosmopolitan group, at different stages in their careers, produce work that is profoundly Romantic in nature. This Romanticism is strongly reminiscent both of the pan- European sensibility most associated with artists and writers such as Gustave Moreau, Odilon Redon, Caspar David Friedrich, Charles Baudelaire, and also profoundly modern in its desire for intimacy, meaning and security in a socially fragmented world.
This longing for the intangible is perhaps at its most overt in Markus Vater’s painting ‘Almost invisible person’, in which the main, almost invisible, figure endeavours to capture the reflected moonlight on the water as the figure itself fades out of our reality becoming as intangible as the reflection itself, to quote the great Symbolist Odilon Redon "...in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined".
The artists in Night Realms often make use of collage as a part of their practice, either as a compositional tool at an early stage in proceedings, or in a more overt and immediately visible way on the painted surface. The inherent changes of scale and uncanny juxtapositions appeal to, seduce but elude the rationale of the eye, engaging instead the imagination. Images invite association but repel absolute interpretation. Where there seems to be a hint of mythology or allegory, it often serves more to obscure than to clarify meaning.
Although the painting on show at Night Realms is predominantly figurative, it is also often dark and enigmatic, eluding clear definition. As such, it engages the darker, clandestine, side of the human psyche, where meanings are confused and space disorientating, vertiginous, dreamlike or hallucinatory.