Colin Glen Commentary December 2019
Colin Glen’s practice is marked by an interest in the play of the imagination inherent in the move from the study of an object to its translation as visual representation. The mutable, indefinite space between these two manifestations is fertile ground for a web or network of intertwining and overlapping - occasionally co-existent but also mutually-exclusive - suggestive associations that lead the mind of the viewer in uncalculable possible directions - external, to a journey through the history of art, and inwards - reaching towards the threading-out of personal narratives that have accreted from the sedimentary recollections of memory. The pivotal place Memory holds in this process of transferal is central to notions of being. Glen’s studio practice consists of the finding, collecting and annotating mainly abandoned wire detritus in a kind of compulsive hoarding or guarding manner, which echoes acquisitive neurotic behaviour, then exalting such ephemera through drawn and painted studies, while first checking each object’s photogenic appeal in accordance with the protocol of the photographic documentation of art. As the series have developed and life circumstances amassed, the once binary dichotomy of shadow and object have dissolved into each another, concurrent with a fascination in the artist’s own shadow developing from a moment catching sight of his own hand whilst drawing. For Glen, this dark figure has a compelling, absorbing attraction like the pull of anti-matter, the draw of an entry point, a doorway, an entity beyond mere vacuity that emits rather a kind of warmth, a generative darkness. The shadow is in fact inductive, an emptiness which projects its object through the implicatory power of the imagination, like Heidegger’s “Dasein”, Being, which is “essentially futural” - possible as a repetition of its status as that which “has-been-there” - whose temporality is possible through the finitude of mortality. For Glen, the absence of your shadow projects the presence of your corporeality, it goes before you as your future (past) projects your present.