painting and all that...
In life our starting points are set by our genes and cultural or social environment. In painting I try to create a metaphor for this process. The starting point is the blank canvas which I might disrupt with offcuts of canvas laid in a rhythmic sequence before priming, or it could be an early decision to use a certain palette or set up a formal grid, or both. From that starting point, and within that framework, both life and painting become a series of choices available and decisions made which determine direction. Chance events or mistakes can and will happen, contributing to, or completely changing, that direction. Process and progression are important. Entropy points to the inevitable progression into disorder of all things and the sequence of events progressing to the end.
There is a strong parallel between abstract painting and composing music. The composer makes an arrangement of sounds, varying in pitch and tone, arranged in a certain order to achieve harmony, rhythm and melody. The only place it can originate is in the composers head, in his imagination. In painting we use marks and colours instead. Harmony and rhythm are still essential formal ends to achieve and meaning exists in the intention of the artist or composer and hopefully in the eye, ear and intellect of the viewer or listener.
Since 2018 I have been looking at dance to carry the metaphor and introduce more gestural movement into my work. I think about dance as a social activity often elevated to high levels of athletic and artistic performance. In a dancehall two strangers can come together, neither knowing anything about the other, there are strong elements of choice, decision, chance, control, improvisation and spontaneity. It takes two to dance, a binary interaction requiring partnership, cooperation and teamwork. It has pace, flow, rhythm, colour and mood. It is the physical interpretation of music through athletic performance, beauty and grace in action. These are elements which have always been in my paintings and will continue.
Ultimately I aim to make paintings that must stand in their own right and are not pictures of something. Works that are enigmatic, contemplative objects, carrying a certain poetic power and, at the same time, something that is a statement of personal ideals and an expression of my sense of the orderly disorder around us, the continual struggle between necessary social order and desirable personal anarchy.
“Practice  not doing and everything will fall into place”
“Do your work then step back,
the only path to serenity”
“We work with being,
but non-being is what we use”
“Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other
Long and short define each other
High and Low depend on each other
Before and after follow each other”
“A good artist lets his intuition guide him wherever it wants”
“Let your workings remain a mystery, just show people the results”
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching c500 bc