Marian Bingham’s Steed Tempers Time and Space
Marian Bingham’s is a richly evocative art in which the horse plays a central role. Her work, furthermore, is characterized by the application of sensual colorations, virtuosic use of transparency techniques, the engagement of collage and frottage effects producing layered sensations, an attentiveness to edge values, and the exercising of simultaneity that evokes trance-like sense perceptions. These qualities, in turn, promote a mood of quiescent awareness that suggests feelings of suspension from waking-reality.
Bingham uses her horse motif in real, symbolic, and in imaginary terms and depicts the various contexts in which one might come across the equine image and equestrian image (in, say, cloud formations, hillside terrains, fields, forests, rural village settings and racetracks) as a means of re-inhabiting her own experience.
The artist is a pictorial dramatist who explores the numinous in her work. In order to invoke a transcendent order, Bingham has developed several pictorial strategies and contextual settings. Her passionately introspective artworks have again and again; for many years now, been focused on the image of the equestrian (as associational trigger) that is depicted in the wild or in more domesticated settings. The horse is occasionally iconized as a free standing or jumping lone figure rendered through the see-through faint outlines of the steed’s outsized yet apparitional-like body as Lauragais I (2011). In Spirit Hill (2011) and Haze (2011) the artist depicts the horse’s noble countenance transparently juxtaposed against a wide-expanse of languid landscape. At times Bingham renders the horse-herd in a grounded-to-reality, earth-bound location as in Dawn Diptych (2002); sometimes she will invoke Judeo-Christian events taken from Biblical history as in What Donkey (2011); alternately the horse is seen as mounted by man using bridle or saddle (Racer II - 2004); at other times the human form rides the horse bareback, implying the horse and rider are as one co-existing in an Edenic world, a fellowship sustained through a deep and timeless instinctual bond as in Wind (2002) and Moon (2002).
Using canvas and paper that is often collaged on to linen or canvas, as well as differing textured surfaces, Marian Bingham’s pictorial structures suggest the shaping, bracketing, displacement, and suspension of temporal conditions by inferring box- framing and by her adept use of layered superimposition. The artist’s pictorial and compositional devices typically play out the window metaphor (seeing through time) with the framing metaphor (seeing /being in or out of time), prioritizing one over the other, as is warranted or at times creating congruency between the two. In a work such as Lauragais II (2011), for example Bingham offers the viewer a simultaneous reading of co-existent yet separate events that lays equal emphasis on measurable chronological duration and on continuous, indivisible time, mythic time.
Through her horse imagery the artist evokes intuitiveness that is absolute mindfulness, and contrasts it with intellective awareness shaped by reason, facts, and historical contexts. Most importantly the horse, as a symbolic, mythic and metaphoric entity serves as means for Miriam Bingham to tell her nuanced stories at a gallop. She rides her steed- her imagination- with cool yet passionate abandon.
- Dominique Nahas