When painters paint landscapes, it often takes two distinct directions. In one, the details are heightened, magnified. Every blade of grass seemingly visible, every reflection of light rendered, the surfaces of rock, soil, and sea captured in minutiae. In the other, the landscape loses its detail. The marks of nature give way to expressive marks of the brush, or to abstract dimensions of color, form, and line. Eschewing the environment’s textural densities, Ayka Go opts for the latter in her solo exhibition entitled Ephemeral Landscapes. This current set of works reveals a continued engagement with paper, a sensitivity aligned with the rendering of the material’s tears and folds in paint.
In one aspect, the paintings are a record of visual impressions, culled from the artist’s travels via train in other countries. In the past, rail-based transportation provided new perspectives of the land. The speed and swiftness by which one traveled over the surface of the earth, unencumbered by the limitations of human and animal legs, lent itself to fresh geographical imaginings.
But in our current period, such vistas from a window has become more commonplace. In lieu of novelty, the passing landscape became conjurer of reveries and reflections. It transformed into a layered ephemera: an overlap of a place glimpsed too briefly, and the relentless thoughts – sometimes troubled, oftentimes anxious, almost always quotidian—that beset our existence.
And yet, despite their perfunctory apparitions, these sights often provide reprieve; their distance a source of comfort for the perturbed. Perhaps it is part of their nature, untethered as they are from the complications we often find in the places where we are rooted. The passing landscape is weightless. It shimmers in its strangeness. Beheld at a time of personal unsettling, Go reimagines them unanchored from the density of detail, from the concrete gravity of daily life. She finds respite in their surfaces. In these works, you may flit and flicker along the landscape’s creased inflections, or drop inconsequentially between the layers. (J.C. Rosette)