Graham Sutherland . The Welsh Sketch Book,' Horizon ; A review of literature and art. 1942
"...and every attempt
Is a wholly new start,and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say,or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning,..."
Four Quartets :East Coker
The monumental contemporary paintings of the Scottish artist Gordon Picken portray a landscape of absence . This landscape in which the figure is implied and yet absent recall the paintings of American suburbia of Richard Diebenkorn and also the landscape inventions of , Michael Andrews ,Graham Sutherland .and Victor Willing.
This feeling of expulsion from the landscape , of course, also brings to mind,both, Adam and Eve in Genesis, and Nicolas Poussin `s painting et in arcadia ego.
Not only does the figure appear to be absented from these works but also the spectators` reading of these paintings is continually disrupted by the process of the works construction .These large scale works are constructed from numerous small scale works ,each fragment " a new beginning".
The monumental scale of these works is not merely an aesthetic affectation but seems to be a reflection upon the ghosts of a landscape of monumental industrial production, the landscape of post- industrial lowland Scotland.