This series of paintings portrays a fantastical and imagined world where one can fly, float, or soar through a diminutive landscape filled with microbes, bacteria, viruses, cells, and atoms. The landscapes have the illusion of space so that the viewer can picture themselves floating amongst and exploring the cellular detritus. They allow the viewer to be a kind of ‘nano-tourist’ in a tiny world that is experienced every day. A world that in reality, can only be seen using a microscope or a particle accelerator.
Colour is very important to this work. It is used to evoke a kind of ‘Disney-fied’ imagining of the microscopic/subatomic landscape.
They begin with a glimmer of structural horizon and hard edge. The microbial ‘characters’ that occupy this world are then added through gesture and mark-making. A visual language is created in order to create ‘personas’ that allow these otherworldly characters to come alive. The paintings are highly gestural and representative of the body − both its strengths and vulnerabilities.
They are created by building texture upon texture from dark to light, straight line to curved, until what emerges is a fantastical view of a microbial/cellular/subatomic world. It creates a visual narrative that shows these worlds (or at least snapshots of them) in a way that the viewer can imagine being there. By enlarging these landscapes to the size of something external the viewer is invited to explore a world that is both inside and outside of themselves.
Shannon Pawliw makes art, but she is also a graphic designer. To see some of her design work visit mightysparrow.ca
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