‘Pacific’ is an exhibition of new work, comprising multi-scale painting, drawing and a film work, made by the artist following completion of a 5,000 mile sailing trip in the Pacific Ocean in 2018, from Panama to Chile via the Galapagos Islands and Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
The work draws upon the unique experiences of the 60 day voyage, including both extraordinary landfalls and the time spent sailing one of the most remote parts of the ocean. The exhibition offers a compelling record, which both witnesses the duration of a long ocean voyage, with its storms and calms, and finds in the fantastic archaeology of Rapa Nui a potent echoing symbolism for our own time and culture.
The film work, ‘Pacific’, compresses the chronological passage of two months into one hour, enabling in the viewer a sense of the duration of the whole, and of certain key passages of time, elements and sea state – a work which, whilst meditative and ruminative, contains a strong sense of the very real jeopardy such a voyage entails.
The film, and select drawings in the exhibition, also focus on the mariners developing relationship with the birds of the sea, the welcome encounters with these wanderers of the open ocean, and with those that presage the coming land, and find in the frigate bird a particular, totemic, otherworldly presence, its evocative form so placed between man and bird as to suggest something else entirely.
Many of the exhibition works depict some of the nearly 1,000 monumental statues, or ‘Moai’, found on the island of Rapa Nui (now called Isla de Pascua, and still known widely as Easter Island), one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. These extraordinary creations stand silently, enigmatically presiding over a history of deforestation, overuse of resources, extinctions and internecine warfare, and, with the arrival of Europeans, slavery and disease. With our own culture engaged in the same destructive process on a far larger scale, the artist presents us with images which, whilst both mysterious and evocative, contain an urgent and salutary message. The sightless eye sockets of each one of the line of towering figures at Tongariki still contain an accusatory, baleful or beseeching warning to us all.
Text credit and above image to: https://www.animamundigallery.com/exhibition-sax-impey-pacific
Featured image: Sax Impey’s ‘F8 S Pacific, Following Sea’