- Media category
- Materials used
- rabbit skin glue and pigment on canvas
- 179.5 x 144.0 x 3.0 cm
- Signature & date
Signed and dated u.c. verso canvas and c. verso stretcher bar, black felt tipped pen “Andrew Cranston 2021”.
- Purchased with funds provided by Alberto Fis 2021
- Ainsworth Family Gallery
- Accession number
- © Andrew Cranston
- Artist information
Works in the collection
A contemporary intimist whose uncanny colours and melting touch recall the Nabis painters Bonnard and Vuillard, Andrew Cranston, born 1969, paints mundane worlds that open onto strangeness and immensity. His painting ‘Moth’, from 2021, is not explicitly a ‘lockdown interior’. However, as a work created in 2021, when COVID-19 forced so many people to remain at home, it is a reminder of the rewards that can come from the contemplation of domestic stillness and emptiness.
The space has personal significance for Cranston, who calls the painting “a sort of elegy to a flat (and my parents, and time passing) we had been in as a family for 17 years. You live in spaces then they live in you.” He continues:
“During our time there I only made a few paintings and drawings in the flat of the flat, but it was a crucial and more important than all the studio spaces I have had. Of course it was, for it was here that the boys grew up here, grew into themselves here and we did too in many ways. It saw the best of times and the worst of times. It bore witness, as if the experiences – painful and joyous – have been absorbed into the walls. I was thinking of issues that have had to be discussed, tackled and faced and sitting for so long that rooms went from raking morning light to dark night, as if you were part of a time lapse film, you sitting still where the light changed around you.”
The result is a lived-in space that invites us, as viewers, to spend time inside it too. The partly open drawer recalls Gaston Bachelard in his study 'The Poetics of Space', where he describes the potency of ‘drawers, chests and wardrobes’ as images of memory, privacy and secret selfhood. But the animating presence in this picture, the main ‘carrier’ of its theme, is the moth that gives the painting its title, and whose soft silhouette we can see against the glow of the lamp on the table. The moth, as a visitor from the night, reminds us of the vast world beyond this picture. And its ardent absorption in the light seems to say something about our attraction to this painting – how we’re drawn in to a night-filled room where ordinary things have been made to glow.
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Waiting for the Bell, Karma, New York, 24 Jun 2021–06 Aug 2021
Matisse Alive, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 11 Oct 2021–03 Apr 2022
Dreamhome: stories of art and shelter, Art Gallery of New South Wales, North Building, Sydney, 03 Dec 2022–27 Aug 2023