MEDIUM:  ACRYLIC PAINT ON CAMPUS
INFLUENCES: EUAN MACLEOD, ROWEN MATTHEWS, ANSELEM KIEFER

SCARS OF HUMANITY
LUCY SAUNDERSON

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My painting, Scars of Humanity, aims to communicate the impact of humankind on the degradation of nature through consuming its finite resources. 


Depicting the vast, barren and dry landscape of an open-cut mine, my work begs to ask questions about the treatment of the earth by humans who consume the world’s finite resources and create irreparable scarification. The faceless human figures on either side of the mine scene, inspired by Euan Macleod, represent humans as a whole, and highlight the ignorant destruction that we create, acting as a reflection of society and our attitude of ignoring the issues for which we are responsible. 


Starting with Plein Air painting in my local environment, I was moved by the amount of greenery and the flowing streams of water. This luscious environment is greatly contrasted by the desolate plains of the mining field, a place with connotations of empty ruins and destroyed land. From here, I moved into the studio and using a range of reference images of these desiccated, man-made earth wounds, I crafted a body of work representative of the perpetrator—being the human, the weapons—being the mining vehicles and the result—ruined land. 


Influenced by Rowen Matthews’ artist practice, I used thick, gestural paint strokes, mixed with modelling paste and sand to replicate the texture of the barren mining landscape. I chose a monochromatic colour palette of oranges, browns and reds to highlight the landscape’s dryness and absence of moisture.


Anslem Keifer’s use of unusual materials inspired me to combine materials straight from the earth such as sand and dirt, allowing my collection of paintings to convey the relationship between man and unnatural environments, and how they reflect eachother. The small canvases above my main piece depict small sections of the cliff faces carved out by man and machine, highlighting the intricacy and beauty of the natural intersections of rock and minerals. The beauty of the natural elements of mineral-rich soil starkly contrasts the hideous damage and destruction of the natural world. 


Through creating this work, I hope to draw attention to the cruelty to which we subject our planet, and to plead for change. Without change, the future of humanity and the earth are uncertain.