|Andrew Cowdell. Two crows at dawn. 2016. Oil on linen.|
My fascination with darkness requires an idea of light. In Two crows at dawn, the beauty of morning’s first light is matched by the eeriness generated by the arresting, black, thorn-like tangle of trees within the hedgerow. This traumatised landscape is a realm that snags, bites and troubles, and yet still invokes the pastoral dream of natural tranquillity. Beauty is envisaged here as William Blake’s “marriage of the contraries”, dependent upon both positive and negative aspects of existence.
The darkness of the setting serves as a representation of the Other, or the Unknown, which subtly imbues the scene with a sense of the supernatural. In subverting the aesthetic certainties of the usual green and pleasant Berkshire countryside, I am simultaneously identifying with both the picturesque and sinister presences within it. Presences which may include fiscal forces churning and poisoning the landscape; evidenced in the painting by tyre marks along the field margin. Alternatively, ‘absences’ may refer to the slow grinding away of our flora and fauna as species are lost; the two sentinel ‘carrion’ crows sent forth by vengeful nature. This landscape may even have its phantoms, lying or waiting where they fell or were taken at some unspecified time in history. And yet, all this darkness depends on the corresponding light of dawn as the beauty of the landscape reawakens.
But ultimately, I shall leave it to your own interpretation.