Modern Fossils are paintings that explore consciousness, evolution, geological time and the Anthropocene. The abstracted painted imagery takes on a plant/animal symbiosis and relies on a combination of gesture and layering of paint, texture and printed forms. The paintings fossilize the moment, meanwhile appropriating and reinventing images directly from nature and cultural history. The trace of the hand or mark making with brush leaves evidence of everything it is not, as visible impression of the indeterminacy of space and thought impression.
My painting is a synthesis of painting languages, connecting Modernism, Surrealism and fossil formations in natural history. It is an explorative process, with time as the main ingredient, some paintings taking many years. This technique allows complete freedom to invent surfaces of paint, glazes, textures and patterns that radiate energy and light from within the physical structure of the painting.
The spectacle of opposition in the natural world – creation and destruction, growth and decay, rebirth and transformation, is the beauty that inspires and informs the work. The textural qualities of paint and sand embed gesture as Modern Fossils. Like a fossil of a geological trace, the paintings speak the infinite languages within water, sky and all of the natural environment. Modern Fossils unite the chaos and order of the natural world in a Darwinian evolutionary dance.
Fossil history has always fascinated me, and after moving to New York City in 1977, I continued to visit fossil sites in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay to unravel the expressions of the earth embedded in the 20 million-year-old fossil deposits of the cliffs. My art evidences geological time as textural elements: crusty sand, clay cliffs and the aquatic movements of the bay and its bioluminescent properties.
Peggy Cyphers 2018 NYC
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