Landscapes, Combes & Renaud’s collective works, are at once sumptuous, disquieting and enduring. Their images stage the typically nondescript using a restrained color palette and meticulously controlled light. The resulting affect is compelling.To simply title these works Landscapes may seem misleadingly naïve.
While Combes & Renaud selfconsciously reference the canonical reservoir of the landscape genre – figuring vegetation, sky, water, ruins – their project is anything but wistful. Instead, their approach subverts the formal conventions of landscape art, divorcing the image from the purely scenic, the decorative and the ordered.
Where landscape art revels in the symbolic, Combes&Renaud obscure the representational and the descriptive, offering instead a diversity of possible readings. Where landscape art quells deep-seeded fears of the natural, they nurture emotional trepidation, playing with depth, shadows and form. Where landscape art privileges harmony and order, they advance dissonance, fragmentation, the poetic.
In fact, the very subject of landscape is relinquished through visual ambiguity. To achieve this, Combes & Renaud tactically deploy composition, tone and distinctive technique. And the vision they propose, both striking and familiar, beckons the viewer to inhabit the space of imaginary memory.