In describing his work, Thomas Edetun states, “Landscape painting is represented by a long tradition in art history, something that I use and feel connected to.” “But aren’t there enough landscape paintings already?” he asks—and answers, “I try to transform landscape into something meaningful to me.”
Edetun accomplishes this by juxtaposing isolated landscape features and architectural imagery with unrelated iconography and textual references. By re-contextualizing seemingly disparate entities, they become homologous and utterly congruous.
In Landscape with Blue Pill, pharmaceutical products appear perfectly integrated in and around a more traditional bucolic landscape. Seashells occupying a gradated white frame surround a house at the painting’s center in “House with Organic Forms”. Each element is imbued with an alternate significance by the presence of another.
The dynamic compositions of Edetun’s figurative, but not literal, paintings, the powerful colors and vigorous brushwork engender a visual tension and an excitement that belies their pastoral qualities. The images in Edetun’s paintings challenge the viewer to question how we come to rely on conventional associations and on our collective memory.
“Each of my paintings can be seen as a small part of a bigger picture, a kind of visual story. The memory has its own way of working, which is not always real or reliable. You see things, but only parts are remembered.”
In much a similar tradition to that of Richard Diebenkorn, and also in the spirit of German expressionism, Edetun’s paintings raise subjective feelings about objective observations. Through the narrative content of his work he explores the relationship between individual and collective memory, imagery, tradition, modernism, scale and relevance.