The Depths And The Shallows


Three Oceans Project, Part 3: The Depths and the Shallows

Scott Gardiner's practice has consistently been engaged with employing strategies that exploit the traditional dialogue between realism, landscape and abstraction. Characteristically involving the examination of force, light and an intensely personal relationship with the ocean while attempting to distill the ephemeral qualities of light and motion on water rendered in pigment.

This new body of work has seen Gardiner’s focus shift from the oceans depths to the boundary between land and sea, a ragged line like that on a map, distinguishing one world from another. As a surfer this notion of ‘crossing the threshold’ is a reality encountered on a regular basis, leaving the safety of the land for the cold and unpredictable embrace of the sea is often a heady mix of fear and exhilaration, satiating a desire for adventure while longing for safety.

These delicately detailed collage works and dynamic larger scale paintings were born out of this process of fear and discovery. The dichotomy of the line, safety on one side, anxiety and uncertainty on the other, the violent act of tearing or destroying only to make something new and beautiful. Making art, like entering a tumultuous, lonely ocean requires the desire and ability to set aside our fears, cast off the shackles of uncertainty and cross the threshold into the unknown.

Gardiner’s ‘Three Oceans Project’ began in 2015 with a three month residency in Sri Lanka (Indian Ocean), followed by an exhibition in their capital city Colombo. The second part of the project included another three month residency in Sydney (Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea), concluding with an invitation to exhibit at Sydney Contemporary, Australasia’s leading internationally recognised contemporary art fair. The third and final instalment of the project ‘The Depths and the Shallows’ will be exhibited at PAULNACHE in Turanganui-a-kiwa Gisborne (Pacific Ocean).

Scott Gardiner (b.1975) graduated with a Master of Visual Arts with Honours in painting from the Auckland University of Technology. He has been a multiple finalist in the Wallace Art Awards as well as the 2012 New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award. His work has been exhibited and held in private and public collections throughout New Zealand, Australia and the United States including the Sir James Wallace Arts Trust and ARTBANK Australia.

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Scroll through the selection of collage works that inspired some of Gardiner’s large-scale paintings above: