Layers\' Seongnam Arts Centre Korea, essay by Marius Grainger
Her paintings ostensibly take the Park as their subject matter but the underlying themes are of human connections, of the forces of the natural world and of memory.
Pickstone sees the Park as a parallel landscape, familiar with paths and boundaries but ultimately unknowable. Despite its artifice, its politely accepted conventions and its inescapable banality there is a timelessness and a depth to the subject which is both playful and profound.
As a metaphor for the interior dimension of the psyche as well as the given tangible world, elements of nature delineate the physical and imagined space. Her painting Park II depicts a fragmented landscape in which elements of the park have been re-ordered into a new, abstract cohesion. This painting is part of a series of large-scale works based on the same location.
Most recently the landscape has been visited by the spirits of writers, for whom the park (in this case the Regents Park in London) was central to their imagination either literally in their stories or as a background to their literary lives. Women such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Katherine Mansfield, Sylvia Plath and Aphra Behn. It is a kind of invocation to the spirit of these writers a chance to imagine and explore how they drew on the landscape for insight courage and vision. She is interested in how the land could be a ‘Room of Ones Own’ in spite of being both shared and private. The authors are connected by the very same landscape, years apart, the same land and trees and archaeology, a collective source.
The ambiguous form at the centre of The novelist 2008 hovers between abstraction and figuration, suggesting differing narratives. This seems to be a depiction of a character peering through the windows of an interior space, but its white walls are also suggestive of the gallery space. Certainly there is a tension in this work, between its ordered composition and the forms within it; they seem to be caught in a state of fluid transformation, moving from the known world into the world of the imagination.
Pickstone subjects reality to a process of deconstruction and reconstruction in which landscape, animal and human life become indistinct from each other and part of a larger, gestural flow.