Taking a two-pronged approach, Jackie Ralph presents a series of small paintings of dark clouds that hint at a situation not quite right, and draws on narrative painting – subverting the usual sympathy for the human animal by redirecting it towards a stricken planet and its other inhabitants.
Clouds in landscape painting are sometimes used as a reminder of the power of nature, or a presence that is greater than the human animal. Ralph’s clouds are solitary; they are dirty, not wondrous; entities with their own agency. The narrative paintings are intentionally melodramatic. There is a kitsch reworking of classical narrative tropes, contrasted against the contemporary issue of anthropogenic environmental destruction. The viewer is to decide whether the figures’ emotional reactions are overblown or fitting.