Image: Sarah Dwyer, 'Untitled' (detail), 2018, oil on linen, 200 x 250cm

Image: Sarah Dwyer, 'Untitled' (detail), 2018, oil on linen, 200 x 250cm

 

“What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.”

T.S.Eliot, Four Quartets

 

At first, we skim the surface. If something catches our eye - wink, blink - we briefly consider what has been presented to the world. Like the red lips of a girl on a train, our second cursory glance is the response to an invitation, one that is framed by what the artist wants us to see. The surface of a work, like a veil that can be lifted, represents the beginning, the entry point, for an encounter. It openly, sometimes audaciously but more often subtly, whispering, asks us to probe beneath. In this sense, the surface of a work is also the space between the artist and the viewer. Like a newborn’s skin, the moment an artist has stops intervening on the surface, when their surface work is done, is the moment its relationship with the world begins.