Thursday, February 18, 2010

More Cities Of The Night And Their Webs Of Glitter

Jon Cattapan - Grey Nocturne (The Pool), 1996

What kind of viewpoint is proposed by the cityscape/datascape paintings? The street has been left behind; the scale is broader and more encompassing. Consistently, the point of view is high - the city is a sweeping vista glimpsed through the window of a plane. The viewer is a traveller, a tiny part of the global traffic of experiences, products and ideas.

It is a point of view that compresses space and stretches form. ... [Overlapping] skyscrapers are stacked across the canvas like a field of crystalline stalagmites. The vertical format of the works, along with a high horizon and diagonal perspectival projection, extends the forms up the canvas. This visual effect emphasises the supra-human scale of the city, as does the evacuation of the human figure from most of the paintings. But viewpoint and perspective also establish a particular urban focus: this is downtown, the corporate and administrative heart of the metropolis, housed in skyscrapers. This is an urbanism emblematic of the postmodern society's supplanting of modernism's 'smokestack' economy - a 'post-industrial' society, a 'consumer society, media society, information society, electronic society'.

Chris McCauliffe (from Jon Cattapan: Possible Histories)