Photo : Eric Flogny
Whilst having obtained an Economics and History of Art degree from the University of Cambridge, Marta Coulson is a self-taught artist. She shows her painter's talent from an early age, leading to a first exhibition of her work at the age of thirteen (College of Fine Arts, Brazil). More recently, her work has been presented in England and Hong Kong and Paris, where she has exhibited in galleries and at the salons d'Artistes Indépendants and d'Artistes Français at the Grand Palais (Salons Art en Capital).
Initially photography is perceived as a source of references for her painting. It becomes fully part of her creative expression when Marta Coulson launches into art photography with her series "elementals". Her photographic works clearly demonstrate a painter's spirit, with a plastic quality making them often hard to distinguish from her works in acrylic. In other words, painting with light, instinctive and spontaneous.
These images are not pre-conceived. They happen as a sensuous response to the beauty of a particular moment,be it the interaction of colour and light or the resonance of emotion that it awakens.
They are about the joy of just 'being'. The exchanges of energy which surround and define us : of nature, earth, exuberant life and colour.
They are essentially an exploration of perception, both visual and metaphorical;of what happens when boundaries are blurred:
Blurring the visual boundaries within an image of a natural landscape allows the elemental, chaotic essence of nature to come to the fore: interrelated singularities existing, such as, in the given moment.
One step further and one sees a complex surface of interwoven colour,light and mass.
One step closer, and nature re-integrates human nature, becoming its metaphor and mirror. Just as suppressing clear delineations in an image of a landscape reveals, rather than obscures, its richness, so blurring the boundaries contemporary culture imposes allows the essential nature of humanity ; singularity and interrelatedness,to come to the fore.
The common denominator linking these perspectives, and allowing shifts between them, is awareness of existence in and of itself. Ephemeral and immediate.
The blurring of boundaries between subjects depicted allows them to be viewed as a kaleidoscope of ephemeral visual compositions. Static perception of a particular 'object' can be abandoned in favour of the essential components of its image: mass, colour and light.
A real landscape (non-retouched photographic image) also becomes a play of colours, and colour an element in itself. Through this 'abstraction' the image becomes a way of grasping, from a strictly visual point of view, the interplay of energy which defines existence.
Once lines and contours are no longer clear, artificial oppositions imposed by western thought and language (subject-object, inside-outside, etc.) can be put aside. Colour, as opposed to line, does not stop at the exterior aspect of things, but goes into their shadows – there where matter becomes living substance and where fusion rather than opposition defines being: pure experience of an instant.
Nature is fluid and chaotic. This is all the more evident when the blurring of visual boundaries allows changeability, thus inherent instability, into its depiction in the form of complex transparent veils.
Such images of our everyday surroundings show a glimpse of a more essential and singular existence which humanity inherently shares with nature.
Contemporary social conventions predispose people to live in conformity with one focal viewpoint,obliging constant exclusion of all the rest,of complexity,to retain integrity. In language as in society, singularities are transformed into members of a class,whose meaning is defined by a common property:the condition of belonging.
Man finds himself governed by the boundaries of imposed social values, definitions, preconceptions and classifications. A world which homogenises and prompts people to denigrate that which exists outside of their own 'normality'.
Blurring these boundaries could allow the singularity of each being to be perceived, as well as the interrelatedness of all.
Are the values automatically accepted in society these which favour sensibility, and a sense of the beauty of the world?
What would society be like without classifications which lock people away in boxes, like lined up, dead butterflies on pins in labelled drawers? The ones we so tenaciously cling to are the most artificial: nationality, gender, status, age...
And the ultimate boundary: human perception of supremacy over all other life. Why the self importance? We are just part of an ecosystem, an agglomeration of atoms, like the air we breathe and what we are sitting on.
What would the result be for humanity, and all life on the planet, if we could consider that all life has, in this sense, equal importance.
Nothing can be known once and for all, but needs re-discovering through an openness of the senses. An openness which can be acquired once all judgements (boundaries...) are suspended and observation of the singularity of existing in the present moment can be experienced. (Harder done than said, as the students of the Buddha's Noble eightfold Path have found over the last 2500 years...)
To walk into the woods, or along a beach, can be a walk away from the comfort of the beaten paths of common thought and into a confrontation with the present moment. Gods and monsters exist only because we create them out of droplets of mist.
...Hence the importance of the ephemeral and the seemingly banal. And hence the interest of blurred boundaries...
I hope these photographs are an invitation to wander through fragments of time and the emotions attached to them: a moment of flickering shadows,movement of waves in the rain, light filtering through leaves, the exquisitely delicate blue of dawn... to see the poetry of a singular moment, a singular life. As for the rest, as Susan Sontag wrote "interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art".
Maybe some of the boundaries we should blur are just the ones we so tenaciously cling to, the most artificial ones: nationality, gender, age, status. What would society be like without these classifications which lock people away in boxes, like lined up, dead butterflies on pins in labelled drawers.
Art en Capital art fair,Salon des Artistes Francais. Grand Palais Paris ,February 2017
Cannes film festival opening “ Red Carpet Night” Mai 2016