AboutCaroline's paintings explore the transient and fragmentary nature of temporal and spatial perception in relation to memory and the physicality and permanence of the painted surface. Using a combination of her own photographs and found imagery gleaned from newspapers, she focuses on the qualities and distortions of light such as shadows, silhouettes and reflections, rather than depictions of objects or people, meticulously translating ephemeral photographic fragments into paintings that are both personal and universal in feel, and far larger in scale.
Focusing on imagery and visions that might be described as being on the periphery of our conscious visual perception, the artist painstakingly builds up the image layer upon layer, employing a muted palette and traditional oil painting techniques to accentuate subtle tonal ranges and dramatic qualities of light. In so doing she emphasises the sculptural quality of light and oil paint, often producing work that oscillates between abstraction and figuration, and unearthing the uncanny from the everyday and banal.
Each painting comprises of layers or different versions of the photographed moment, eventually arriving at the final representation. The subtle difference between each layer of the photographic fragment acknowledges the discontinuities and slippages of perception, and the mediating effects of time and memory. The final painting becomes one that is more informed by the prior layer of the painting than by the photographic source itself. These laboured paintings of momentary and mechanically captured images evoke a nostalgic and obsessive impulse toward the familiar and universal, but also harbour a sense of loss and longing.
Caroline Higgs studied at Central Saint Martins and Camberwell College of Arts, where she graduated in 2002. She works across a variety of creative disciplines including film and photography and is a published writer.
In March of this year her photography was selected for publication in the book Accident Créateur, published by the Master Edition, Sorbonne. Her last solo show, Pause the Light, took place in 2005 at the House Gallery, London. She currently lives and works in South London.
Penumbra represents the artist's second solo show to focus entirely on her paintings.