Building upon the themes and techniques explored in previous solo collections including An American Trilogy and Turneresque (both 2014), the current exhibition, Overlapping View sees the artist once again reflect upon the complex connection between past and present visual practice, but also begin to extend and develop the relationship between photography, painting and human memory. Utilising a range of source materials from found imagery, film stills and the internet, the new works featured in this exhibition raise narratives and juxtapositions regarding the history of the painted canvas and the photographic medium as visual document. Working in the space between abstraction and the figurative, Cánovas creates a new parallel of visual intimacy, an ‘Overlapping View’ which asks us to challenge our own assumptions of fact and fiction.
Ernesto Cánovas’ latest works, with their composite of references to both history and popular culture, recall the words of American writer and critic Susan Sontag, who stated in her most famous work ‘On Photography’, that “to collect photographs is to collect the world.” Indeed, this certainly rings true for Overlapping View, where the artist makes use of his diverse source material to transport his spectators from a tropical paradise to an arctic glacier, to a household interior or even to the surface of the moon. In these elegant works, our journey encapsulates fleeting moments at once familiar and unknown, half-remembered scenes not easily forgotten. Cánovas’ seamless alternation between aspirational glamour and the visual language of the everyday is reminiscent of the flickering of a film reel, each image closely contemplated and carefully manipulated before it is reborn to the world.
By favouring the aluminium surface as his canvas over more traditional means, Cánovas emphasises the tangible nature of each piece, highlighting its place outside that of the conventional printed paper photograph and emphasising its status as an art object in and of itself. In Overlapping View, the artist makes use of the elevating, distortional power of his processes and materials as viewers are urged to probe beyond the glossy surface of smooth aluminium. Coated in resin, a material suggestive of faultless, manufactured perfection, this contrasts with subtle variations in colour, light and a hand-processed finish which alludes to the tensions between the uniform and the unique, and notions of multiplicity in contemporary art. Somewhat a departure from his previous references to Pop Art and the Romantic era, inOverlapping View, Ernesto Cánovas continues his artistic trajectory with a vocabulary all his own.