“From time immemorial the Earth has been bombarded by objects from outer space. Bits and pieces of the Universe piercing our atmosphere in an invasion that never ends. Meteor, the shooting stars on which so many earthly wishes have been born! Of the thousands that plummet toward us, the greater parts are destroyed in a fiery flash as they strike the layers of the air that encircle us. Only a small percentage survives…poured over by scientists of all nations for the priceless knowledge buried within them. In every moment of every day they come from planets belonging to stars whose dying light is too far away to be seen. From infinity they come. Meteors! Another strange calling card from the limitless regions of space - its substance unknown, its secrets unexplored. The meteor lies dormant in the night – waiting” From The Monolith Monsters (1958)
By exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way, Priya Baxter tries to create works in which the actual event still has to take place or has just ended: moments evocative of atmosphere and suspense that are not part of a narrative thread. Each image presented becomes a brief moment of quiet, as though the lights have come up in a theatre and the curtains have opened. A setting for past and future human activity but in the moment of the image there is stillness, a mysterious potential. However it is still just an illusion.
Baxter is captivated by the notion of an escape created within the landscape of art, an infinite journey within a mirrored consciousness where the viewer becomes a collaborator within the scope of the work. She investigates the dynamics of landscape, including the manipulation of its effects and the limits of spectacle based on our assumptions of what landscape means to us. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination. Here there is a secret world waiting in a familiar form, a world of objects transformed into a world of visions. As Hanna Arendt cites from Franz Kafka “the possible seems true and the truth exists, but it has many faces”.
The link established between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver becomes “the edge of two interconnected worlds: one an internal, imaginative or contemplative space and the other, an external, dynamic, magical world of nature.” (Susan Derges)