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'The Greater Light', Biggs & Collings

2012, oil on canvas, 203.5 x 203 cm

Artist's statement

Biggs conceives the colour, Collings applies it. Our form is a series of triangles in a grid. We use it not as an idea in itself, or as a quote from life (wallpaper or golfing sweaters, for example), but as an inert container for colour. Meaning is everywhere, it looms up in spite of ourselves, but we aim to examine what the world looks like if you remove familiar forms with their confusing narrative resonances, and substitute a neutral structure. One that supports a complex, changeable colour harmony - a landscape painting without the landscape.

Painting is in crisis - what is the point of an antiquated form in a world where representation is ubiquitous? Our answer comes from looking at its origin, both in the history of art and as the by-product of art's original intentions: beauty. As with all our recent work, the title comes from 'Genesis', whose origin myths are integral to Christian, Jewish and Islamic history. (In this case, 'Genesis 1:16': 'God made two great lights - the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night...') These
tales inform early Western depiction, which is the starting-point for our visual enquiry.


Emma Biggs, born 1956, attended Leeds University (Fine Art) 1976-80 and is a professional mosaic artist. Matthew Collings, born 1955, attended Byam Shaw School of Art 1974-8 and
Goldsmiths London 1990-2. He has written and presented TV programmes about art and was a juror for 'John Moores 22' 2002. since 1998 Biggs & Collings have worked collaboratively.

Exhibitions (London unless stated) include 'Round Table' MOT International 2005, 'HA HA WHAT DOES THIS REPRESENT?'
Standpoint Gallery 2012. 'Solos' include 'Clickclack' 2006 and 'English Primitive' 2008 FAS Contemporary Art, 'Five Sisters'
York St Mary's York 2009, 'Mudlark' Charlie Dutton Gallery 2010, 'The Whole Earth' Vigo 2012.

Biggs & Collings website