Melanie Comber




My painting process involves the application of very thick oil paint and loose pigment to a surface. The paintings are worked vertically, propped up against the wall and I draw and scrape into the painted surface using a variety of tools and brushes to create a three-dimensional landscape which stands proud from the canvas surface. I then dust loose pigment across the surface of the work to illuminate every mark achieved through the painting process. The work gets rotated and reworked over a period of time until I begin to find the place that I am searching for. A final coating of loose pigment captures this final place. Once the work is dry, it is varnished with an aerosol varnish over a period of several days, and the surface becomes fixed. A typical working period for a painting would be three to four months, I work on a number of paintings at any one time, and I allow the works to inform each other as a group.


My intention is to create works that allude to an experience of 'place', incorporating personal associations and visual notations absorbed during a designated 'visit'.  Attempts to create monuments of emotional experience. I seek out places which are sparsely inhabited and spend time recording my experience, making notes, recording phrases or conversations held in that place, recalling sensory experience, attempting to capture a moment in time that I can then reflect upon during the painting process. Often notes made with regards to a location will become a title for the work, harnessing an idea with a literal endorsement which allows my interpretation through the making of the painting to wander, but still convinces me that my initial experience is tied down.

My current work is motivated by the notion of map making, focusing upon the establishment of a landscape diary; utilising the canopy of cartography i.e. the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicates spatial information effectively. A visual representation of an area that exists in three dimensions but becomes a symbolic 'painted' depiction in two dimensions. My investigation has lead me to the development of a coded visual language, equipped by painting devices and techniques that can question the process of drawing and the constructed line within a space. I feel a constant need to challenge the perception of a drawn line and its projected depiction of a landscape within the painted space, and to explore the physical possibilities of what the painted object might be, as it exists in the real world in three dimensions.