Join our mailing list


In this week's blog, artist Dominique Leoni shares her creative response to one of her favourite paintings in the Jerwood Collection, Christopher Farrell's Cydonia, 1995-96.

Christopher Farrell’s cityscape Cydonia, painted between 1995-96, was based on a convergence of imagery from London cityscapes and spectacular high resolution images taken from outer space of Cydonia, located in the Arabia Terra region on Mars. This is a transition zone between the southern highlands and the northern plains of Mars, an area characterised by wide, debris-filled valleys and isolated remnant mounds of various shapes and sizes.

My attraction to the painting has something to do with its airless intensity and other-worldly quality. It emanates a sense of heaviness, an oppressive landscape that features a mysterious translucent structure.

Drawing has always been an intrinsic part of my life, a medium through which I try to project ideas in need of somewhere to settle. I tend to think in terms of construction, compiling and arranging elements to build layered abstract spatial structures. Mark making evolves into interconnecting overlaying floating layers, to convey depth and networks of movements through space.

My response to Cydonia is a 30 second video animation entitled Kinesis. It is less a transcription but more of a series of experiences in reaction to the landscape, to break down its weight and density and transform it into a space that can be more easily moved through. Initially, a transparent duplication of the painting was made as a ground layer. The next layer that was scanned in was derived from a mark making process. This began with capturing elusive carbon trails formed by a burning candle on to paper to transform the landscape into a more open spatial structure. Drawn into the carbon veils are clusters of white sprites – sources of energy. The final layer of an animated lucent figure, reflecting the carbon markings and running through the landscape, increases the sense of fluidity and movement through an enigmatic imaginary landscape.

My works are mixed media and include animation, printmaking, pattern design and drawing. 

Dominique Leoni is leading a children's animated figure workshop this summer as part of the Jerwood Drawing Festival. Click here to find out more.  

Images: (top) Dominique Leoni, Still from Kinesis animation, 2014 © the artist; (bottom) Christopher Farrell, Cydonia, 1995-96 © the artist.  

31 July, 2014
Written by Dominique Leoni