The Art of Glenn Ibbitson
This article by artist GLENN IBBITSON has been taken, with his kind permission, from his website. All the moths, which have been attracted by a lightbox, are local to Dyffed, and are released back into the world after being photographed. Then Glenn creates these amazing images…
crypsis /ˈkrip-səs noun: the ability of an organism to conceal itself especially from a predator by having a colour, pattern, and shape that allows it to blend into the surrounding environment.
Though 2020 marks the 71st anniversary of the publication of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, its central concept remains, ominously, as relevant as ever. How is the artist/ dissident to express unpalatable truths and criticisms of contemporary society and the state apparatus whilst still being able to function as one of its citizens, free from official persecution?
When I first read this masterwork as a teenager, it did seem as if Western society, at least, had insured itself against the risks underlined through its pages. Now it seems that perverse humanity has collectively snatched defeat from the jaws of what was perhaps in retrospect a mirage of victory.
This series of moth paintings is an attempt to find an imagery to incorporate a notion of surreptitious discourse within mechanisms of crypsis. A dissident giving voice to his or her ideas publicly, rather than merely in secret, by appearing to be saying one thing, but smuggling through a different subtext under a surface cover to convey a quite different meaning.
The visual deceptions observed in the structure, patterning and coloration present in British moths provided me with visual material to use as metaphor for operating under the radar; fully functioning in plain view, but hidden from all but the closest scrutiny. An inversion on the idea of sleight of hand; not by distracting the eye away from the real subject, but rather fooling it into a misreading of evidence presented directly.
All watercolour on paper 42.5×61 All images ©Glenn Ibbitson 2020