At the Quiet Limit
18 July – 19 September 2013
SMAC Art Gallery is proud to present At the Quiet Limit, a solo exhibition of new works by Jake Aikman. At the Quiet Limit is comprised of Aikman’s well-known renditions of nature and signature seascapes, whilst introducing new veins, partly inspired by his recent trips to Central America. This is Aikman’s third exhibition with the gallery, and is accompanied by a catalogue of selected works.
The exhibition and the catalogue takes the form of an unchartered artistic journey, reminiscent of Conrad, Coppola and Herzog, as Aikman moves gradually deeper into his subject, unveiling both stylistic and conceptual complexity. Eerie and silent, a post-apocalyptic world is scarcely inhabited. Isolated, solitary figures and traces of human presence are placed in context before the overwhelming magnitude of nature. Remote coastlines, impenetrable forests, volcanic plumes and darkly ominous waters suggest a violent reckoning between humans and nature. Besides the unequivocal environmental message underpinning the work, Aikman delves deeper, posing inevitable existential questions. We are aware as the audience that the context of these captured spaces is not completely ‘real.’ Although each painting is titled as a specific geographical location (as a grid coordinate), the audience slowly becomes aware that they are standing in front of a suspended context, a scene which is painted by an artist on his own investigative quest.
Like a powerful tidal cycle, the audience is drawn in and out of the enigmatic images, their vastness providing no explicit narrative. Aikman simultaneously creates tension and anticipation about what is about to happen or may already have taken place. The viewer is placed at the ‘quiet limit,’ and it is there in the absence of a narrative that Aikman’s paintings can be both silently overwhelming and alarming in their quiescence.