Splinters and Shards is a watercolour painting of a young girls face, but the image is fragmented as though in a broken mirror with each of the shards reflecting a different hue. Her smiling face is therefore made up of rainbow colours, apart from the eyes which are a bright green, the same green as the background. Her eyes stare staight back at the veiwer engagingly. The background appears to be a green canopy distorted by snowflakes or motes of light – it is not clear which. The girls hair is the same colour as the tree bark, in fact it may even be tree bark, the strands of hair across her face actually splinters of wood.
The effect is mysterious and ambiguous. It feels as though you are looking into a mirror but seeing someone elses face instead of your own. Is she an aspect of yourself? Or the artist? Or the woods? Is it a faerie creature? A spirit of the woods? Or Mother Earth herself, Gaia? It is a transformative and magical image worth meditating on.
Both splinters and shards mean something which has been broken; shattered. Splinters come from broken wood and shards come from broken glass. This painting is deeply rooted in nature – immense, beautiful, wild, both caring and uncaring. That smile: Is it a loving smile or a smile of indifference? Yet for all its power nature is fragile. Splinters & Shards makes you think about that fragility. Yet nature is a part of us, too.
Key Colours: Viridian Green, Burnt Sienna
Guide Price: £65; All offers considered