Stagnant Pool

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


This series of works explore human relationships with nature, landscape and its historical depiction in art. These images reference the traditions of 17th - 19th century European Landscape painting, and the philosophies which have informed it. This work draws upon allegorical references in order to create layers of meaning that present seasonal depictions of the landscape embodying elemental forces such as life, death, growth and decay. In this series, pools of stagnant water are a recurring motif. ‘Stagnant Pool’ (2010) focuses on small details in an urban landscape. Man-made objects that have been carelessly discarded are given significance. This detritus serves as a trace of activity that reveals something of the inhabitants of a park, transitory visitors, who whilst moving through these surroundings, activate a landscape that has been constructed for leisure. The rubbish, collected together in the stagnant water, draws attention to the objects’ everyday function in the world of ‘things’ and whilst they could seem disgusting, discarded and dirty, detached from their function and viewed as a whole, they become strangely pleasing. These colourful, man-made plastic objects float stationary, caught in algae, at odds with their supposedly natural surroundings. They appear like marks on a painted surface or green baize. Viewed this way they take on the formal qualities of abstract painting. The overgrown hedges, the small stone wall and the broken glass make for a tawdry scene, yet the colour that the discarded pieces of plastic introduce to this rundown environment somehow give it life. These objects should by rights be incongruous in their surroundings, yet they have become subsumed into it and though transitory, now seem an intrinsic part of this place. The activity that has created the detritus constitutes a domestication of this exterior space and the rubbish, over time, carpets it. This 'carpeting' effect can also be found in, 'A Complex Variety of Greens (from Emerald to Viridian) (2011), where algae completely covers the water in a pond to create a smooth green surface. In these images there is no horizon line, no sky is visible, rather, every part of the image seems to be crowded with foliage or detritus. Through the removal of recessive space, these works seek to investigate and challenge the compositional devices of the landscape tradition. Details: Series of three works, entitled, ‘Dead Pool’ (2008), 'Stagnant Pool' (2010), 'A Complex Variety of Greens (from Emerald to Viridian)' (2011), colour lightjet photographic prints, each photographic print measures, 122 cm x 152 cm, colour lightjet photographic print. Edition of three.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2008


  • 17th
  • 19th Century European Landscape painting
  • the sublime
  • the picturesque
  • allegory
  • photography
  • landscape
  • urban/ public space.


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