(series) 2016. Oil on board, dimensions variable
Paradise Lost I - VII
Influenced by her experimentation with infrared photography and how we see and perceive light, time and the transcendental, De Jager creates interplay between the real and surreal in a new series of paintings of a familiar grasslands landscape. These images are meticulously painted, recreating these moments in a spectrum of luminous tones (?), in a cathartic process of retelling. De Jager layers media and processes to distance the viewer from the original image, mediating a portal through time and space.
‘Different levels of meaning occur in the recreation of these images, and in the interface between the found image, the distortions which occur in the process of technological reproduction and the manipulated image translated into paint on canvas.’
It is this very mediation between photography to paint where de Jager actively teleports her viewer, from action to memory. The once still landscape seems disturbed, disrupted by some kind of alteration; transforming the dry, seasoned winter trees into something beautiful.
‘Infrared is about the light we cannot see, above what our human eye spectrum can observe and take in. I interpret the light into colours and imagine a world where I can see this spectrum of light’
This arduous process of applying paint to canvas is the antithesis to the instant photograph. De Jager’s sensitivity to time, her ability to slow it down through the painting process but also halt it as you stand in front of her work is transcendental. Devoid of human inhabitants, the landscapes speak to a sense of aloneness/isolation.
“Often wonder about these worlds we can not see, undiscovered places on earth, were humans have never tread. I often explore the idea of another world opening up to one when you stare at it for long enough. Yet, still I am here and still, nobody is here. And nobody is here with me.”
As an alter ego exists so it seems De Jager wishes to reconstruct herself through the reconstruction of these familiar spaces; the tree’s become her own internal world, the infrared becomes the heat seeker, searching for something unseen or maybe just altering things ever so slightly into something she has not yet found. There is a nostalgic, loving sense of searching, longing and yet an illusion of time in which the past, present and future seem to be suspended in a moment.
Paradise Lost V (series). 2016. Oil on board, 60 x 60 cm.