‘You are here’ brings context to the navigational line you are about to follow on a map. In this show line is the tool Van Oyen uses to reacquaint herself with home and place. With the Christchurch cityscape stripped of many of the landmarks that were navigational aids prior to the earthquakes, Van Oyen focuses attention back onto the natural forms in her home town – the skyscapes, landscapes and botanicals she sees as the new markers or identifiers of place.
‘Navigation Lines’, the name of this show, refers to the strong linear element in the work. Beginning with drawn line on paper, the materials used in the final artworks transform the original drawn line into something more physical. Line is now formed by pushing a carving tool through lino to emboss paper, by outlining a shape with a paintbrush, or by cutting a line with a scalpel into paper. All of these have the potential to activate the physical haptic.
The surface tactility in many of these works is important. Shimmer against a certain chalkiness of paint, and paper pressed flat against plumped up embossed forms are used to create tactile surfaces in the works. These, combined with colour combinations that have been carefully considered, have the potential to trigger the sensation of touch or the desire to touch, without fingertip touching. This is the physical haptic.
“Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations” – Paul Cezanne