‘Urban Pastoral’

Justin Coombes conjures eerie enchantments from banal, nocturnal urban scenarios. By projecting photographic slides onto trees and buildings, then rephotographing the layered result using long exposures, he builds up spaces that come across with a déja vu familiarity. The effect is intriguingly ambiguous and deeply evocative. His gardens and allotments appear abandoned in some back-of-beyond place, inhabited solely by lone somnambulists. These are scenes of memory and reverie, tense anticipation and nostalgia, precise states of emotional import. One would be hard pressed to decide whether they are a matter of joyful yearning or unnerving dread. Despite their atmosphere of dreaminess, Coombes imbues his works with the many layered psychological depths of life as it is really lived.

 © Robert Clark. Originally published in the Guardian.