Tilke Elkins paints wild landscapes that hold discernible but indecipherable traces of human presence and history, recording conflicting impressions of both neglect and the sublime. Materials, often pigments of plant and mineral origin gathered and prepared by the artist, serve as signposts for endemic events, both personal and cultural. Subtle on-site manipulation of found objects and ephemeral surfaces such as leaves, driftwood and human refuse or abandoned belongings suggest the presence of an observer, both alienated and enraptured.
The varying moods of landscapes, activated by light and weather, and the movements required to explore the heights, depths and substances of place — climbing trees, crawling through undergrowth, scaling boulders, sinking palms into mud and snow, swimming underwater with eyes open — can activate inner transformation often inaccessible in contemporary urban culture. This exploration of continued physical intimacy with the non-human world, and the catalysts it brings, is a focus of Elkins’ large-scale paintings and site-specific installations.