Exhibition Statement 2022:
I am drawn to paint outside, often within nature where discovery is heightened. The process starts with wondering, looking into the world, feeling a sensation, making a decision and stepping into an unpredictable act where time and place take on a specificity, becoming palpable and appreciated.
The act of painting outside can often be uneasy whilst coupled with euphoria. In my mind the approach of painting from life feels wholesome and present, it imparts a sense of being and opportunity which makes one feel they are just at the beginning.
Accompanying Text to the 2022 show:
In the order I usually paint; I dart around the landscape, a patch here and there, the sky comes out and the ground arises until things merge halfway in the middle. The land is solid and the effects of the sky and the light are unpredictable, depending on the time and the day. I am often on the scene towards the end of the day where light moves its fastest, so the light will be chasing itself within the work. There are no still moments. Everything is in flux, most of all the figures. This is why I paint the figure towards the end, where I'm somewhat confident that they have something to stand on and somewhere to sit.
There is some kind of Murphys Law, that as soon as I see the figure I wish to paint, even if they have been seated for two hours, it is at the moment start I paint them that they now decide to leave. All of the figures I have added to my paintings are people who were actually there, captured as they are walking through my work. It is a monstrous struggle to muster up the moment to capture them, the figure and its moving parts all in that instant. I have to photograph that in my mind, a sharp visage of things in motion to even try.
Rain does not deter me from painting outside, I can always have one hand on a flailing umbrella and one hand on my brush. I have learned over the years that the unease of the moment can actually make the attitude at the end of my brush more purposeful and direct.
In my previous work, I had the need to add dots to the painting, and I am still drawn to that, as it gives me a feeling of consistency and articulation. But recently, it became clear that my aim now had become to create a painting from the bottom up and not the top down. I wanted the work and every part of the mark-making to emerge from the painting as one, not as separate parts. I wanted the band to play together in cohesion, where one player shifts his dynamism in response to another at that moment. I felt strongly about this once seeing the work (only online, unfortunately) of Leon Kossoff, where the painting is one work, where the paint is one paint and it all steps materially together, where mistake and success are welded into a charged but blissful whole.
I had always been bothered by the fact that the intricacy of what I see is too detailed for my painting. How to capture the single leaf, let alone the thousands of them fluttering in the wind, each with their own infinite kind of complexity of further detail - it was a question I denied when painting. However, I recently realized to my comfort, that the complexity of every mark, a knot of paint within a knot of bristles are of equal complexity, if you look at any single brush stroke closely it is of equal detail as anything of similar size you view into the world.
When I was young, I had a book titled Impressionist Dreams. I used to leaf through this book over and over again. Looking at the work of the Impressionists and post-Impressionists, Renoir, Monet, Pissaro, and Van Gogh, has always been a kind of therapeutic viewing for me. Feeling the sunlight shimmering across the row of trees, tiny blobs of layered paint that can make you feel physically warm, a bundle of leaves in the tree slowly rocking somehow on the page. The approach of painting in dots and dabs has helped guide my hand. It has put a limit to where I am aiming by creating a lattice that lets the dab of paint hopefully speak for itself.
Overall I now aim to bring my subject matter closer in.