Oliver Gosling

Research interests

arts research University of Brighton

In Oliver Gosling's work, landscape elements, human heads and traces are pared down to a point of stillness and simplicity, to their essential ‘anonymous’ shapes; pointers and propositions to imagination and speculation, sharing whatever emotional and experiential parallels are evoked. Space is seen as an entity giving pressure and release to forms. The wish is not so much to assert but to bring the images to a point of maximum tension between absence and presence, surface and depth, solidity and fragility, shadow and form, within the simplest configurations determined by visual considerations and overriding those of narrative.

The elusiveness and mystery of emotional truth, however absurd or tragic, steers the images away from didacticism or the literal. On the cusp between meaning and meaninglessness, resolution and dissolution, at what point is presence sustained and absence acknowledged? Seminal influences have been Oriental concepts of space, certain 20th century music compositions in which notions of pause and the relation of sound to silence are explored, and the writings of John Gray and E. M. Cioran.

Gosling's empty landscapes and heads without features are imagined in a space that feels primordial and alive; conditioning, compressing, suspending, infiltrating and dissolving forms; witnesses to inception and origins. The heads are everyman and no man; the landscapes are every landscape and no landscape. Emotional truth is elusive and mysterious, however absurd or tragic. Images that are on the cusp of meaning and meaninglessness, stimulating imagination, seem closer to experience than resolution, didacticism and closure. For this reason there is often a precarious balance between suggestion and presence. Nothing is asserted, just a wish to find the maximum tension in the simplest configuration, and to share whatever emotional and experiential parallels are evoked.