2003 was a pivotal year in the ink painting of Misha Bittleston, one of mastery of the medium and unparalleled experimentation. From the most nuanced use of scumbling to putting paintings through the shredder and reassembling them.
The compositional language of these paintings is profoundly influenced by the painters Charles Burchfied and Gustave Moreau.
As with Burchfield, in Bittleston's landscapes, the forces of nature are rendered visible, calligraphic brushwork animates sounds, the subjective is fused with the objective, to express the literal vibrational language of growth.
Gustave Moreau's symbolist interiors seem to be like baseline compositional frameworks for Bittleston's luminous interior spaces, flanked by Moreau's familiar columns, and framed by subdivisions of rectangular doors and windows, as seen in Moreau's abstract studies, that Bittleston uses to create tension between two dimensional design and a sense of place, Bittleston's cuts these with diagonal beams of light, where Moreau used symbols, to Bittleston light and matter itself are the subject, a celebration of the transcendent beauty of the material.
Throughout this work is the feeling of being located in Plato's cave, seeing the world indirectly, though shuttered windows, from underground caverns or in valleys looking up, there is always the philosophical sense of being inside and looking out.
The night time cityscapes and towering structures, are like scenes form a sexy monster movie where tired lingerie models grow as tall as buildings, draping their shimmering garments down the avenues of the city, and rubbing up against the scared buildings - Bittleston painted these in 2003 and moved to New York City in 2006.
These works encompass the abstraction of four discrete themes or genres.
Firstly cityscapes and landscapes all of ravines and canyons; then the figure, often solitary and the skin as a source of light; the interior rooms replete with undefinable objects; finally the experience of matter itself captured in pure texture, the sense of sight made tactile - the unexpected worlds we might discover if our eyes could touch the things we see.