'Hydro'. Charcoal on 15 Pieces of Paper. 84 x 110 inches. June 2012
'Solarium'. Charcoal on 15 Pieces of Paper. 84 x 110 inches. Dec 2010
Humans come to identify themselves, in one part, through the built environment. Buildings, as part of a larger urban context, interact with one another to allow individuals to create a narrative of who they are – past, present, and future. Through the built-form both existing and missing, and always changing, individuals create a particular memory and identity. Like the architecture that is rarely static, the memory and identity of groups change as built forms are lost, through destruction or decay, and subsequently rebuilt or replaced to either continue or extinguish one’s memory and identity. Both the process of destruction and rebuilding or, lack thereof, is important to this cycle. The built environment plays a critical role in human identity and memory. It is not, however, simply the existence and construction of buildings that shape identity; it is also the destruction and absence of buildings, as well as the reconstruction of lost structures.
The monumental contemporary paintings of the Scottish artist Gordon Picken portray a landscape of absence; of lost histories and memories. This is a landscape in which the human figure is implied and yet absent. 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 with each fragment marking a new beginning, a moment in time.
The large scale of these works is not merely an aesthetic affectation but reflects upon the spirit of these locations which were once landscapes of monumental industrial production. Informing all of the work is the artist's belief in the sense of dislocation and loss that people feel when they perceive changes to their local environment.