Green cauliflower-textured growths, transparent oval domes, sharp and pointed projections of stone – these are some of the features that make up the futuristic islands in the art of New York-based Canadian artist Tristram Lansdowne. Working across painting, installation and print, Tristram mainly focusses on the histories of landscape and architecture – particularly utopian trends and modernist design.
In his paintings, the elements of nature and man-made structures are easily fused. The dreamy scenery that emerges belongs to a sci-fi novel or movie. Interestingly, the works could indicate either of these two possibilities: human cities have expanded so much that they have encroached on the last remaining tracts of pure nature or urban dwellers have become so ecologically conscious that they have found ways to bring pure nature back to their artificially constructed habitats. We have invaded mountains and rivers in our greed or have happily surrendered to them, allowing them to shape our existence. Negative or positive in their expression, the pictures remain fascinating.
As for his influences, Tristram has been lately thinking about the work of the American painter and sculptor Richard Artschwager and the Belgian surrealist René Magritte. These days, he has on his mind a strange quote from Plato’s Dialogues that goes – “The imitative art is an inferior who from intercourse with an inferior has inferior offspring” – which is to say that visual art is a pale reflection of truth.
Tristram holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design. Discover more on his website (www.tristramlansdowne.com) and Saatchi Art profile (www.saatchiart.com/tristramlansdowne). He is active on Instagram: www.instagram.com/trancetronlazerdown.
Images used with permission.