At The Worlds End: Tretā !ेता by ELKYMY
Original painting. ‘Tretā !ेता’ was created as part of ‘At The Worlds End’, a series of paintings comprising of telescopic views of the faces of different imaginary exoplanets, each set against a sea of blackness and the dark void of space.
Size: 24 x 18 inches (61 x 46 cm)
Medium: Acrylic, polyurethane, powdered pigments (Mica) on deep edged stretched
canvas with a depth of 1.3 inches (3.5cm)
Despite the advancements of science and the exploration of space, deepening our
understanding of our cosmos, it has also become a much stranger place given its infinite
formlessness and the barrenness of its void. Inspired by views of Jupiter captured by NASA's
Juno Spacecraft, ‘At The Worlds End’ depicts imagined landscapes and extra-terrestrial
topography of planets yet to be discovered. A celestial and imaginary cosmology procured
by artistic imagination and the unconscious mind, these paintings conveys an overall sense
of man’s insignificance when confronted with infinite space and the immeasurability of time.
The textural terrain of the surface comprises of an initial application of polyurethane foam
which was first applied onto the surface of the canvas, then shaped and scraped using
various tools and impediments. Due to the chemical nature of the expanding foam, which
requires moisture to expand before curing to form a solid three-dimensional surface, left to
its own devices or with minimal intervention, the foam will expand and cure to form a solid
three-dimensional structure that has a puffy, cloud-like quality.
The foam can also be modelled by shaping and scraping to created textural effects evocative
of those found in natural landscapes. However, despite the intervention of the artist’s hand,
the foam has a certain quality of fluidity as it continues to grow and morph in shape and size
before it eventually dries out and cures. The ‘formlessness of foam’ and the unpredictability
of its final form can be seen as a manifestation of the spontaneity of nature.
A driving force underpinning the artistic vision of these works is the artists’ preoccupation
with the search for the perfect balance –– the equilibrium between the agency of the artist's
hand, the spontaneity of the materials, and the interaction between the pigment and paints
An initial application of varying tones of pigmented colour to create a tonal underpainting
recalls one of the techniques (Grisaille) used by the Old Masters to depict areas of dark and
light. Thin transparent glazes and washes of interference and iridescent colours were applied
over the grisaille underpainting comprising of varying tones of pigmented paints. Due to the
shifting nature of interference colours, the painting changes in appearance when viewed
from different angles.
Overlapping layers of transparent pigments and thin glazes of iridescent colors evoke the
quality of swirling clouds and luminous bands of atmospheric gases arising from dramatic
cyclonic storms on distant planets, as seen in infrared views of space. One of the key
features of reflective paints (interference and iridescent) is in its ability to reflect light
differently than regular pigmented paints. The diffusion of color caused by the effects of
overlapping glazes of transparent pigmented paint, interference colours, and gloss gels,
imbues a sense of the ethereal glow emanating from the cosmic dust of a nebula, or the
atmospheric planetary hazes rising from the merging of storms.
While this evokes otherworldly and celestial scenery, "At The Worlds End" can be seen as a
manifestation of the connection between the psyches of the two artists. The shaping of
foam was executed without conscious intent or a plan, and hence is based on unconscious
material. The resulting imagery recalls the birth and death of planets and imbues a sense of
the cyclical nature of time. Because of the connection between the individual and collective
unconscious of the artists, the pictures take on an added dimension –– becoming a conduit
between art and science, artistic imagination and the collective unconscious.
‘Tretā’ was created during the height of the pandemic crisis of 2020 in the United Kingdom,
where the artists are based. It provides a brief moment of interstellar escapism, reaching to
the stars and galaxies for solace amidst these trying times here on our earth.
This work was executed using high quality professional grade materials and mediums from
the Liquitex and Golden Acrylics Professional range. Done on Loxley Gold 3D canvasses with
a depth of 1.3", making framing unnecessary. The works are also finished with archival
standard sealant with UV protection (Golden Polymer Varnish), which gives a protective
flexible dust-resistant surface. This varnish is removable with ammonia for restoration
purposes if needed. A non-removable isolation coat was applied over the painting prior to
varnishing, giving an extra layer of protection if/when the varnish is removed.