Artwork Archive: Pangea


Towards the end of 2014, the London studio I belong to, Submit to Love, held an exhibition at the Bishopsgate offices of the corporate investment firm Allianz Global. To create a body of work to display at the exhibition, we used the word “global” as our theme, and that took me back to my school days studying geology.

The theories of Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift tell us how the planet’s once-fused continental masses separated to form the global pattern we see in world maps today.

Pangea was the name given to the original fused supercontinent formed 350 million years ago from which the seven smaller continental units we currently recognise (Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, Australia) split away. All the world’s continents have been on the move ever since.

In my ‘Pangea’, South America and Africa are the most recognisable of the once-joined continents that later separated. In the image above, they are coloured green and brown.

One of the great disappointments about this image is that the borders between the continents are clearly differentiated as different colours. One thought that preoccupied me as I painted ‘Pangea’ is that the boundaries between the continents, the zones at which they would eventually split, did not appear until about 175 million years ago. For around 200 million years it was a single mass. So the acrylic-on-canvas painting was actually of Pangea at the end of its life as a supercontinent. It was Pangea as it started to break up. I attempted in a later digital rough to soften the boundaries, but with little success.

I’ve no doubt I will return to Pangea in the future, when I’ve got to grips with colour mixing and matching. Maybe then I will be more able to appreciate its complexity.

See more images from my Artwork Archive.

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