Callum Monteith lives and works in Glasgow. Monteith’s paintings crystallise natural forms, creating flat, abstract patterns of colourful vegetation. These works explore the idea of paradise not as a physical place but as a state of mind, linked to our concepts of self in relation to nature. The presence of abstract patterns connects to notions of perception, particularly how we use such forms to apprehend our everyday experiences of the environments we inhabit and the objects within them.
Monteith’s work interweaves notions of nature, philosophy and aesthetics with particular interest in ideas surrounding Utopianism. Working through painting, photography and writing he examines the correlation between imagined and physical places, and how they exist in an autonomous field of perception, whereby their elements are relatable and seek their meaning from one another.
The photographic work is an on-going series titled Visions of Utopia that examines Utopian inspired architecture, with recent work including photographs of Midsummer Boulevard and MK Gallery in Milton Keynes. For these, Monteith used Richard Shiff’s essay Rasters in Paradise as a starting point: “All impressions are first impressions…. The minute it ceases to be first, the impression tumbles from paradise into history…. The more acute historical consciousness becomes, the more it tends to stimulate subconscious opposite. Paradise is the historical unconscious.”