I think sometimes that my paintings are stronger together rather than alone. Like somehow they form part of a wider narrative. Perhaps like scenes from a film that taken out of context might be insignificant, hollow, or incomplete. I’m interested in the editing process of film-making and how images can be joined together to allow the viewer to fill in some of the story.
The images above are details of the installation I have in my studio of the ‘365 Paintings’, because they were produced one day after the other throughout the year they resonate quite strongly for me as a collection or a group. I see patterns emerging week on week, month on month and certain narratives that run through some sections. Also because they are very small and hung very close together in a grid format it is easier to see them as parts of a larger thing, like a sequence or a storyboard, which in turn provokes a filmic narrative.
This image shows a selection of recent paintings that sit in my studio in a dialogue with one another. I think they are stronger together.
This is a better example. I am enjoying how different works can inform each other and come together to create a narrative or dialogue.
To what extent do we look at paintings, or groups of paintings in a similar way to film? How does this influence story telling?
Our minds have been conditioned to look at imagery completely differently from one medium to the next. With painting the viewer is free to choose their own path through them, their own narrative and order of looking, but with a film it is the director or editor that has this power and it is the viewer that is dictated to. Painters rarely succeed in having this power I suppose leaving them more vulnerable. I think a lot depends on how the paintings are displayed, what size they are and if there are any visual clues to might lead the viewer from one to the next, taking elements of narrative with them. To what extend does colour and medium have significance here?
I’m also interested in the idea of quality, or a perceived quality. Recently I have been rejected for everything I’ve applied for, which is one one hand disheartening and in the other intriguing. I find myself questioning is my art bad quality? Does this mean that the images I create are un-interesting? What is the reason I have failed to inspire the judges? Or am I just applying for the wrong things? What does my art do and how / where should it do it? It does take a certain amount of resilience to try and get recognised as an artist.
I think it must be difficult for judges of competitions to judge paintings when they’re not actually seeing paintings, but photographs of them. The answer I think is to find a way of getting some paintings on display. I don’t think I will actually know how strong they are or what sort of story they tell until they are on proper exhibition somewhere. It is also worth pointing out that the rejected works are some of the paintings in the photograph above, where I pointed out that they are better together, so why am I trying to split them up? I should think about ways to keep them together or join up with other sets or groups. I like the idea of a number of groups of paintings operating on a couple of different surfaces, informing navigational decisions by the viewer.
I do have a couple of opportunities lined up in the near future that have come about from right time right place kind of situations and I’m looking forward to getting some paintings on walls outside my house.
There’s something really powerful about being impulsive or spontaneous. My practice seems to rely on impulsivity, rarely is a recent work pre-planned. There’s something interesting about pulling whatever material seems to be in front of me, like a take away menu, a black marker, a backing board (for a frame) or crappy printer paper and making art from it, or using them as art materials. I’m starting to question is this laziness, or is it genuine? I think a lot of my current practice relies on a certain gesture, mood or response to materials.
Seeing Darren Nixon’s launch pad show at Castlefield Gallery last night I was please with how he had responded to materials, like in a don’t give a fuck mentality painting on cardboard is fucking fine. I love how it has been mistreated and abused, corners bent and scuffed, screws perturbing from timber, unprimed canvas and unfinished woodwork. Its definitely very punk.
I’m also concerned that so many materials go to waste. Even when paper is recycled its not necessarily a sustainable process or with a zero carbon footprint. The process of recycling involves transportation, loading, unloading, machinery, chemicals, man-power, electricity, water, etc etc. Much better to re-use than recycle. Every time I put something in the recycling I think I’m throwing away a potential painting surface or sketching paper, then I find myself going to an art supplies shop and buying painting surfaces and sketching paper! What the fuck. This definitely should influence and be responded to in my work and I think it is beginning to. This idea of covering up that is so prevalent in my work at the moment also comes through, I can see evidence of the pizza menu withstanding the thin layer of white emulsion that sits on top of it. Was this intentional? Nothing much is to be honest. is that the point? Who the fuck knows.
On the works themselves in the above picture, there are some fairly interesting works evolving through drawing and experimenting. I’m still not sure on where most of the source imagery comes from. That’s the most honest way I can describe it. I see my current practice as an on-going experiment or journey, but each work seems to respond to previous works and informing new works, creating dialogues and relationships that go on to formulate a conversation or perspective.
Oil Pastel, Pencil, Felt Tip, Emulsion, Oil and Watercolour on Canvas
59 x 90 x 4.5
There is almost always a painting once considered finished underneath my works. They have been painted over. Sometimes completely, sometimes enough to drastically alter. This is a crudely made piece of work but with elements of cleaning up involved. I’m interested in the thick build up, the remnants of paint and application, the serendipitous mark making and the notion of borders and boundaries within paintings.
The hint of a figure is little more than a shadow, or a shape that resembles a figure. The materials used have really been abused here, pushed to their limits and evidence of the battle that was fought between them, is left on the surface of the canvas.
This really is an indiscreet and crude piece of work.
I make paintings that reference pictorial qualities associated with landscapes and sometimes portraits, but with no conscious intension to do so. They all seem like simplified versions of something else, or partially covered versions. I’m interested in surface tension, build up of paint, covering over, a notion of grittiness or crudely applied but with elements of tidying up or cleaning involved. But cleaning as in painting over, or sweeping under the carpet, not bothering to remove wallpaper before redecorating. There’s nothing clean about these works on closer inspection, but they do seem to give that impression, almost like a deception. I think the works are full of oxymorons and I can definitely see a series forming.
Charcoal, Emulsion and Watercolour on Canvas
59 x 90 x 4.5
The title refers to a variety of meanings. In one sense it refers to the notion of covering up, hiding or closing something. I also like to think of it in the geographical sense as an element within a landscape. I initially came up with the title with the image of a folded map in mind. Like a folded ordnance survey map that has been rain damaged and become difficult to read, hard to distinguish, the painting looks to simultaneously represent the map, the place itself as well as the experience of being there.
There’s contradictions that exist within this painting, it seems to represent a sense of distance, but with no depth of field, there is a layered build up of paint and tension, but the surface is smooth and flat, it feels easy on the eye but difficult and rough on closer inspection. The dialogue presented by this painting corresponds with the tensions and apparent contradictions that exist within it.