"The ordinary–sized stuff which is our lives, the things people write poetry about–clouds–daffodils–waterfalls–what happens in a cup of coffee when the cream goes in–these things are full of mystery, as mysterious to us as the heavens were to the Greeks."
Tom Stoppard (Arcadia, 1993)
Human beings' near–constant desire to idealise, construct and repackage reality has (inevitably) resulted in a landscaped hyperreal world that is as limited and unsatisfactory as it is false. Two centuries of coaxing wild waterways into canals, uprooting mature trees from erratic woodland spots to be replanted at measured intervals along city streets, and occupying marshland with smart new build development has tamed once ungovernable terrain into green and pleasant land. What isn't farmed is suburb. Life comes flat–pack with a manual, child–locked and ready–for–use. Escape is as futile as it is undesirable. If chaos rules then where on earth does one walk the dog, or park the car, or sample the local honey?
Curtis' Assorted Originals' diagrammatic landscapes paint over tradition, laying bare the components of yet–to–be assembled spaces (in aluminum paint on Dibond):
1. John Constable 'Flatford Mill, Scene on a Navigable River' 1817 (101.6×127cm)
2. Joseph Turner 'The Shipwreck' 1880 (170.5×241cm)
3. Richard Parkes Bonington 'Landscape with a Pond' 1825/6 (26×34.9cm)
4a. Richard Wilson 'Hounslow Heath' c.1770 (64.5×72.2cm)
4b. Richard Wilson 'On Hounslow Heath' c.1770 (42.5×52.7cm)
5. Thomas Gainsborough 'Road from Market' 1767/8 (121.3×170.2cm)
6. John Varley 'Suburbs of an Ancient City' 1808 (72.2×96.5cm)
7. Alexander Cozens 'Setting Sun' 1770/3 (24.2×30.8cm)
8. Joseph Wright 'Landscape with a Rainbow' 1794 (83×106.8cm)
9. (and a very limited edition Tote)
text by Iphgenia Baal