Douglas Cartmel's new work concentrates on the multiple representations of the ocean, seen as a naturally occurring abstraction. These locales dissolve into modernist strata once painted upon supple grounds and blocks, giving these isolated worlds new life.
Cartmel combines the fleeting, existential subject matter with the concrete objectivity of the laboriously crafted object. More than merely mementos, these paintings are what he would call artifacts, securing the importance and validity of a moment and location erased.
Douglas Cartmel's Pixel Paintings are eerie representations of figures in landscapes taken from digitally manipulated photographs. Formally, they take on the issue of figurative abstraction, breaking up the visual plane into perfectly painted "pixels" of color. These impasto colored squares are handled such that the ghostly images hide behind the abstraction of the painted surface. Light and structure become the other subjects of the painting, as the viewer makes out the elusive, transcendent forms that move within the canvas.
The pluralistic qualities of this work gives it almost universal appeal. It at once addresses the spiritual and the material; a poetic painterly vision executed with architectural precision. The paintings are fields of luminous oil color, but are the result of a photo-digital process of image transformation. The image is taken from computer-altered photographs by the artist, then painstakingly painted by brush upon stretched canvas. The process gives us didactic gratification, yet the solitary figures still evoke feelings of the sublime. Mr. Cartmel successfully uses the visual language of technology to evoke spiritual responses to nature.