Artist Statement

I’m obsessed with realism and relish the challenge of attempting to painstakingly capture the beauty of organised chaos. I paint exclusively in oils on canvas and enjoy rendering form and light to help make the subject matter look hyper-real. While not my sole intention, I take pride in hearing viewers say that it looks like they could reach out and pick an object up off the canvas.

Why organised chaos? Because that’s what they are. I carefully collate the subject matter and usually spend a day arranging the objects into a mass. At first glance they look like chaos but there is an incredible amount of order involved. I think the works reflect a lot of modern life, reflecting themes of consumption, abundance, order and chaos.

I arrange objects so that they complement each other based on size, shape and colour, before judging the composition from a distance to make sure it works as a whole. I pay particular attention to how objects overlap each other and use different lighting approaches to help emphasise depth in the work. I always seek to create pockets of interest within each painting that draw the viewer in.

This first series of organised chaos paintings all feature retro toys as I explore themes of escapism. Growing up before the proliferation of smart devices I feel fortunate to have enjoyed a childhood where I could play for hours with my collection of toy dinosaurs or my brother’s toy soldiers. Getting lost in creative play and using your imagination must be one of the best parts of childhood and I hope these paintings can transport viewers back and help them remember these early experiences.

As well as looking to the past via the nostalgic subject matter, they allow for escapism in the present and future also. As I spend hundreds of hours on each work I get truly lost in the flow and sheer joy of painting. While, in the future I hope for the paintings to allow the viewer a few moments of escapism. As our lives become increasingly fast paced, I want to create art that helps people be still, look and escape, even if just for a few minutes. Perhaps they notice something different every time they look at the artworks or maybe memories and emotions of childhood come flooding back.

Gary Armer Painting