“Measuring Land and Sea continues Oliver Jeffers’ investigation into the philosophical impasse at which art and science often find themselves,” said the gallery. “While one is by nature subjective and the other is defined by the pursuit of objectivity, both express two very human characteristics: feeling and reasoning.”
Oliver Jeffers work takes many forms, including installations, illustrations, collage, cartography and figurative painting.
But you may know him as a creator of picture books. If you haven’t, and you have kids of a certain age, then you really should.
His books are so well–loved that the Discover Chidren's Story Centre in Stratford turned his children's illustrations into an immersive play space, which you can read about here.
Measuring Land and Sea runs from 20th November to 23rd December.
For this show Jeffers has combined classical landscape and seascape painting with technical measurements.
The gallery explained that "through this juxtaposition, the artist presents the viewer with two modes of representation, one artistic and one scientific. Rather than increase our understanding of the work, this combination makes things less clear by providing superfluous distraction whilst highlighting the boundaries of perceived knowledge. Thus, Jeffers points to two underlying obstacles of human cognition: the tendency to overthink and the inability to fully comprehend."
In his landscapes, Jeffers complicates each scene by inserting additional, yet unnecessary information.
"Atop serene terrains, he has carefully measured and marked the angles of the gradients that occur in the image," sad the gallery. "Despite being inherently factual, this information is extraneous, and with it Jeffers mirrors the muddying effect of the human inclination to overcomplicate."
Conversely, his seascapes comment on the limits of human capacity for comprehension. In these paintings Jeffers has superimposed numbers that mark the depth of the ocean in fathoms, a now obsolete system for measuring depth.
"As his various depictions of ocean swell suggest, the surface of the sea is not flat but in constant motion, forever changing," said the gallery. "Moreover, what lies beneath the surface is a notoriously uncharted frontier; these paintings speak to the futility of trying to measure, with potentially inadequate means, the immeasurable vastness of our universe."
Measuring Land and Sea follows the artist’s 2013 solo exhibition Nothing To See Here at Lazarides Rathbone.
To coincide with his show, Jeffers will conduct a discussion on his Dipped Paintings project at London’s National Portrait Gallery.