Archetypes 3: Et In Arcadia Ego (2018, tempera)

This plangent piece returns to the mysterious territory between landscape and archetype with a tempera work that draws on the delicate landscape palette of Poussin, the bold, furious brushwork of Jackson Pollock and the famous memento mori hidden in Holbein’s The Ambassadors.

Et In Arcadia Ego responds to the theme of a morally ambiguous garden seen in visiting artist Ariella Wolf’s The Mower Against Gardens, and draws on the classical motif of Arcadia articulated so strongly in the pastoral idyll popular in the early modern period. Using her characteristic technique of outlining forms in the space left unpainted to suggest memento mori outlined across a landscape, here the artist evokes the fragility of the natural environment, the presence of death in even the most idyllic landscape and perhaps also the sense of our human culpability in the destruction of Arcadia in the Anthropocene era.