The image shows a blurred, abstracted landscape with silhouettes of trees. The tempera painting meticulously reproduces a photograph taken through a window using a flashlight. The flashlight hinders to look through the glass and to see what is out there. In turn, it gets reflected and illuminates two crossing stripes of glass scratches, creating an abstract pattern superimposed on the faint background. The work's title Sunset straightforwardly defines its subject, adding up to the somewhat melancholic quality of the image.
Andrew Grassie’s paintings are based on photographs the artist has taken himself or in some cases found. Often they have been elaborately staged, although this effort is veiled by the ostensibly unassuming matter-of-factness the small, precisely painted works exude. The works are executed with tempera, a technique associated with pre-Renaissance panel paintings anteceding the development of oil paint. Tempera dries very rapidly and remains relatively sheer. To create cover and solid colors therefore many layers are needed. The final image is modulated through the application of multiple different glazes.
In Sunset as in the other works by Grassie (that take exhibitions, installations, art production and transport as their main subject), the insertion of a fixed point of view can at times act disorienting on a spectator: even as one probes a believable space, one’s ability to explore is restrained. Grassie has spoken of wanting to achieve an “airtight quality that creates a sort of aura of mystery around simple things,” comparing the effect to a vacuum, “as if reality were wrapped in cling film or a layer of thick air.”