Abigail Dyer

Artist Statement

A Comforting Unknown follows the journey of two anthropomorphized animal characters, a white cat and a deer. Painted digitally, the pieces are made up of soft color palettes, earthy tones such as greens and browns, and textured brushstrokes. These works evoke a sense of wonder and exploration, and especially a feeling of wanderlust. They contain soaring landscapes that are somewhat idealized, and a view of traveling and adventuring that makes one think of childhood games, nostalgic fantasy books, and a feeling of peace and contentment. Landscapes are what I enjoy portraying the most in art, and with a project like A Comforting Unknown, I get to do that a lot, as traveling and adventuring of course involves wandering through new and exciting and beautiful environments. Exploring and traveling evokes these feelings for me, coming from a childhood where I read fantasy books and dreamed of a life like the one those characters had. The world in these pieces is overtaken by nature, with crumbling ruins and wide-open spaces, but it is not empty- characters are able to wander freely, discovering hidden secrets and figuring out that the real treasure was the friends they made along the way.

I derive inspiration from a variety of traditional movements in the history of art, such as pastoral and impressionist landscape paintings, as well as contemporary film and animation. I am particularly interested in Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli films, a body of multiple animated movies made from 1984 to 2013. These films put a lot of attention on nature and landscapes, and on simple and relaxing plot lines and characters- all aspects that I want to encapsulate and explore in my work.

This project is based around the calming feeling evoked from the nature and landscapes in beautiful places that surround us and the nostalgic and adventurous aesthetic from traveling and exploring. A Comforting Unknown captures the feeling of its own title: there are things and places that might be unknown, but it sometimes is better to be comforted and at peace by not knowing than to try and force everything to make sense.

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