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Sax Impey 'Atlantic'

Ani­ma Mun­di are delight­ed to present Atlantic, the lat­est solo exhi­bi­tion by envi­ron­men­tal artist and mariner Sax Impey.

Impey’s often large scale artworks, are immersive and elemental, incorporating precise detail and dexterity with an expressive, behavioral use of medium. These works are predominantly derived from first hand experiences at sea. Having sailed many thousands of nautical miles around the world, these extensive trips continue to have, for the artist, profound personal resonance, providing continued creative agency.

This particular body of works result from two particular facets of sailing in the Atlantic. The first, the specific conditions of time and place crossing the Gulf Stream whilst sailing to New York. The Gulf Stream runs parallel to the Eastern seaboard of North America, and then tends in a more eastern direction to cross the ocean. The main current also creates eddies, which loop out and turn back on itself. Wind, and swell, interacting with this movement of water, can create dynamic, sometimes volatile conditions. Other works draw upon a very different succession of Atlantic sailing experiences. As Impey describes “The nights when this mighty ocean, with all its’ flows and movements, presents itself as a sheet of mirrored glass. On these celestial, spectral nights, we sail in two worlds, the ocean and the Otherworld, and mythologies of the past present themselves in the existent moment.”

This often sublime reflection of an artists unmediated reconnection with the natural world creates a tableau for our existential and spiritual focus. An important place of vicarious insight in to a power far more significant than our own, yet one we are aware of being intimately connected with. Pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson wrote, in her 1951 book ‘The Sea Around Us’, “Eventually man, too, found his way back to the sea. Standing on its shores, he must have looked out upon it with wonder and curiosity, compounded with an unconscious recognition of his lineage. He could not physically re-enter the ocean as the seals and whales had done. But over the centuries, with all the skill and ingenuity and reasoning powers of his mind, he has sought to explore and investigate even its most remote parts, so that he might re-enter it mentally and imaginatively.”

At a time of deep rooted ecological concern, the damage that we continue to wreak upon our planet, including, most worryingly, the oceans is no longer a secret. It is impossible not to observe, inhale and be consumed by one of Impey’s paintings and not be in awe. In part at an artist in notable synchronistic unity with his material and muse, in awe at the profound ephemeral beauty of the painting so exquisitely rendered, but mostly in awe of the palpable power of the subject herself. A liminal moment has been captured and so creates an echo. We are humbled, in the realization that these mighty waters will remain long after we have left. The damage that we wreak, we wreak upon ourselves.

Joseph Clarke, 2021
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Drawing Painting