Statement 2017

A’Court’s practice explores the notion of the visual sublime working within painting, collage and drawing, she employs re-imagined landscapes as a trigger for encounter or contemplation.

Classical landscape references are reinterpreted in a new context, rendered in graphite on a variety of surfaces. The form, composition and materiality are meticulously constructed to summon a state of mind rather than a specific location.

The tension between the precision drawing and the loosely painted ground references different models of art history and alludes to contrasting types of mental attention competing for the same psychological space. 

A' Court invites curiosity of ones own mental states. Her interest has been formed by her meditation practice and by the ideas of pre-eminent psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist in his book “ The Master and His Emissary-the Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World”, presenting his research on the hemisphere differences and the different perspectives they have in constructing our current experience and impact on our society.

 Sue Williams A’Court’s exquisitely intricate Escape from Eden borrows details from Arcadian landscapes of historical works to create a series of ‘portraits’. Exploring the way we subconsciously see human forms in the world around us, the paintings muted surface evoke Victorian photographs, yet the faces within emerge from delicately interwoven trees, paths and boulders. Playing with ideas of identity, and perception questioning reality, the portraits are landscapes of our own imagination, a state of mind rather than a specific location. Hovering ambiguously between our inner and outer worlds, their mesmerizing, miniature scale invites viewers to lose themselves in an intimate, contemplative reverie in which we no longer feel wholly separate from what we observe.

In A’Court’s work the artist is effaced and we do, precisely, find ourselves drawn into the grain of the experience. The stare of the hungry eye is softened and, as she puts it, in a wonderful phrase, the gaze is ‘slowed down’.
— Iain McGilchrist, author, former Consultant psychiatrist & Director at Bethel Royal & Maudsley hospital, London, researcher in neuroimaging Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, Fellow of All Souls College Oxford