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Project Thin Air - Exhibition


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8 May - 21 June 2015
Private View: 6 May 7PM - 9:30PM

Alexanders next solo showing will be held at the Residence gallery and is entitled Project Thin Air.

In october 2014 the artist Alexander Heaton set out to climb Baruntse in Nepal. His artwork is heavily influenced by his experiences on expeditions. Baruntse - 7162m (23,497 ft) is a peak in the Khumbu region and would be the highest he had yet climbed to date on any mountain.

The paintings will not only be the the largest single artwork Alexander has ever made to date, but will also attempt to create a whole encompassing environment of the himalayas, and transport the viewer to this other hostile world. Alexander's work is deeply concerned with a love for nature and all things wild, Heaton uses glaze mediums such as oil, and specifically for this show has even manufactured his own paints to achieve a more accurate colour spectrum of the subtleties of light bouncing off the surface of glacial ice. 

  

+44 (0)20 8985 0321
info@residence-gallery.com
229 Victoria Park Road, London, UK, E9 7HD

Wed-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12-5pm

Whilst climbing Baruntse he participated in a self driven lead project to explore the limits of creativity at high altitude. He has attempted to make a series of art works in response to this trying and difficult environment. For example drawing except in a tent becomes impossible above 5000m due to the numbing exposure of cold to fingertips. Even cameras become difficult to use and seise up when one is so high up. The constant pressure of time is also a factor when one is exposed and tied to others on a rope. Baggage must be stripped down to bare essentials. Therefore basic existence is a struggle when one is above 6500m. How to make art about such experiences, when one can not at the time readily record or react directly? For the exhibition at the Residence gallery the pieces Alexander made and wrote about in his journal have be developed into a series of larger scale works. Ideas stem from conversations made during the long interludes from climbing whilst sitting out weather in tents, or perhaps moments of respite from the cold and dark like sunlight striking the outline of nearby peaks raising the temperature just enough to make oneself comfortable again. Poetic narrative or deep philosophical reaction to theses places when one is in them is more often than not negated due to overriding concerns of safety and comfort. This economising of mental capacity is in part due to the lack of oxygen in the brain but the simplification of concern for the everyday is perhaps one of the main reasons Alexander chooses to climb. In not having the ability to think beyond what is directly at had comes a liberation and a form of meditation. Importance of action is reduced down to steps and breaths. Therefore the artwork for this exhibition is an attempt to represent a fantastic yet real place as truthfully and as unelaborated as possible. No artistic license has been used, all colours have been matched as closely as possible. No revelation was attained at the summit. The works does aspire to see the miraculousness in the minute, however, but only for what it actually is, "warm light on snow bringing respite from the unknown darkness and cold. Easyier breathing and the chance to see where one is going." Perhaps the only metaphisical lesson one can draw from such experience is that one can go as far away as is humanly possible from the womb and yet feel closer and more in need of its protection than ever before. Colours become emotions and memories in these jagged heights and serve to remind the explorer of people and the need to return.

The Himalaya as subject matter represent a natural progression in Heaton's work starting in from the highland hills of his youth through to the Alps and now the region of Chomolungma, (Everest or mother godess of the earth in tibetan) They are the first places he returns for creative nourishment. They represent struggle and the overcoming of obstacles through following there unique lines. Mountains are also in the mind and appear to be like natural cathedrals unchanging and permanent. To climb them is a communion with nature and to walk through their wooded slopes a kind of poetry of movement. They are oblivious to the fads of the world yet constantly keep the viewer fascinated by there unique geology and the changing nature of light on there snow aretes and glaciers.

"It's important to me that the mountains and forests in my paintings are places I have actually visited and experienced." The paintings act like a record of these journeys and hopefully sum up Alexander's feelings towards the landscapes in which he journeyed and dwelt within.