Highly analytical and technical on appearance, Peter Yuill’s circular paradigm, which has become the emerging artist’s trademark, is in fact his confrontation to human’s interminable quest for rationality to demystify the universe and the antithesis of the inevitable limit of their capability to understand all the secrets of the nature. It is in this liminal space between the known and unknown that Yuill achieved a mental clarity through synchronizing the visceral tempo of his mind with the rhythm of nature, liberating himself from the struggle to prove the inscrutable truth and turning his focus to the miraculous interconnectivity and harmony of the universe. In the artist’s own words, “there can never be a true understanding of our purpose. Not through thought, reason, or mathematics. To understand this, was to let go, and begin the next stage of existential development. To be truly free.” Such introspective realization is the axis on which Yuill maintains the alignment between his artistic practice and spiritual growth.
Negotiation between the Logical and the Spiritual
Featuring an entirely new body of work that evidently marks Yuill’s maturing style, this exhibition narrates the new phase of both the creative and spiritual journey of the artist. Consciously reducing the depth of his perceptive understanding of the reality into its most basic and purest form accentuated by the application of gold and copper colors, the artist takes his creative process inward and investigates the intertwined relationships of beings in both microscopic and macrocosmic scales, as well as the recurring patterns in the infinite flux of the universe. On one hand, Yuill’s seemingly mechanically drawn geometric compositions call to mind mathematical or scientific symbols that represent human’s ever increasing wealth of knowledge about the world we live in, behind each simple sign is a complex concept of how we understand its system or even how we attempt to alter it; on the other hand, his repetitive circular patterns allude to age-old sacred geometry, the perfectly balanced and sophisticated structures of which carry ontological references to both the visible and invisible world, manifesting the wholeness of the infinite universe and the cyclic nature of the energy within that is beyond human understanding.
In its essence, Yuill’s creative process is the negotiation between his logical mind and inner self, and his oeuvre of geometric abstraction is the synthesis between these two seemingly paradoxical realms. Moving away from the monochromatic approach of juxtaposing circular patterns with black solid rectilinear forms from his previous series, which underlines the tension between the known and unknown, the visible and invisible, the ephemeral and eternal, the artist further reduces his pictorial vocabulary to a single shape, circle, and finds his definitive language of expression that transcends all the dichotomies of the world and immerses viewers in the intricate yet harmonious dimension of the whole. In attaining such sublime state through reduction, Yuill has also found freedom within the confines of shape, maneuvring circular patterns into myriad of seemingly evolving forms that flow with the artist’s inner feelings.
Obsession to Liberation
Eschewing the straightforward route of using a compass, Yuill invented his own method and tools with a specific geometric formula, he then painstakingly draws and arranges the circular forms by hand. Such nearly obsessive experimentation of his artistic practice not only requires absolute discipline but also the disposition to embrace probable failures, to complete his laborious work is to have the full consciousness of possibilities and limits. On each of the work in this series, solid circles or rings of gold or copper are added on the compositions, creating a sense of encompassing quality, as if all the complications manifested by the repetitive circular patterns are reconciled by the ubiquitous energy. In The Infinite Plane and The Limitless Path of the Intuitive Mind, a sequence of overlapping circles revolves horizontally across the picture plane forming a multiple of what is called torus in geometry that adds to the composition the effect of three dimensional optical illusion. At once perplexing and orderly, the black and white spiralling patterns align with the large metallic circles in the background, suggesting a complex binary existence being embodied by a higher spiritual plane that governs its underlying system. While the former work is composed of four tori linking neatly with each other as if two infinity symbols are joined together forming an endless labyrinth, the latter features a similar motif with three tori in the center, but then it twists and turns its way on both sides expanding into interlocking formations before meandering back in its perpetual journey, emitting a sense of alternating force of compression and expansion that reflect the oscillating state of mind of the artist. Whether it is the tranquillity exhibited in the symmetrical arrangements such as the double infinity symbol in The Infinite Plane or the intense inner dialogue communicated in the puzzling serpentine compositions like the one in The Limitless Path of the Intuitive Mind, his meditative works witness the development of the artist in his existential and philosophical path that leads him ever closer to the mystical and spiritual realms.
With the intuitive vision that can be traced back to his study of his heritage of paganism, from which he found a deeper connection with nature that led him to the exploration of mystical symbolism as well as the inquiry of existential absurdity, a philosophical viewpoint that questions the meaning of life, Yuill has honed his distinctive style of minimalist composition with exquisite details through years of investigation and introspection. From contemplating the ancient wisdom through reproducing customary sacred symbols to eventually creating his unique pictorial expression in geometric abstraction which possesses a kind of celestial beauty and philosophical insight in its own right, his art is a contemporary interpretation of how human beings, in the past and present, interact with nature and make sense of their role in the inconceivable immensity of the universe. The intricately layered patterns and symmetrical structures in his works symbolize not only the labyrinthine relationships inherent in the larger cosmic system but also the artist’s attempt to define the essence of life in its purest form stripping off all the unnecessary materiality. Like the universal energy that brings life to all beings, the revelatory colors of gold and copper set the convoluted and never-ending paths in perpetual motion that vibrates with the viewers, leading them through the tangled uncertainty into nothingness, the total awareness of human existence. As much an artistic pursuit as a meditative practice, Alignment is a narrative of liberation, only by letting go can one find the space to connect to the inner self, and Yuill has achieved this alignment through his art.
(Courtesy of Gallery HZ)