Anne Stagg

I have always been drawn to architectural facades and how they cover up or alter the exterior of buildings. They act as a shell for what is beneath, often adding ornament and perceived value to something ordinary, but they also act to conceal flaws. Equally, I am drawn to the vents, pipes, and air handling systems that provide a critical service but are hidden away on the exterior of the building. In both instances, something is concealed, intentionally kept out of sight. We do this with buildings and we do this with people. We create a veils, disguises and masks to hide what is inconvenient or ugly. How often do we really see, or even think to look beyond what is immediately visible? We employ a sense of magical thinking and apply it ubiquitously across our lives, rendering invisible what we do not wish to perceive.

I create layered paintings in which detailed visual elements beg to be seen but are covered over, often by blanket systems of pattern. There are hints of the previous work: gaps where we can see elements from earlier layers and telltale surface scars from the paint below. But, these elements are less visually dominant and require careful observation - like a palimpsest where one thing covers over another, but the erasure is incomplete. Within my paintings, the layers explore ideas of scaffolding and protection, barriers and limitations, as well as evolution and change. Buzz Spector wrote about my work, “the finished object bears within it the traces of what was unmade” … “these paintings are less so many shrouds than they are bed linens with living limbs beneath.” My work reflects our contemporary landscape through a lens of abstraction and encourages a closer look in order to see what is hidden below the surface.

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