Thursday, 29 January 2015

Two Blues, 2015 (Mixed media on canvas, 76cmx51cm)

Limitations are everywhere, in life, art and nature itself. Like boundaries, limitations set the stage for the general drama of activity on a limited stage. This ceaseless drama is as observable as it is liveable and permeates everything we do and experience. It conducts the seer and the seen, the thinker and the thought, the goal and the struggle and the self and the not-self. Even in seemingly empty space the notion of this elemental activity makes itself felt. There is a balance in this activity. When we rush around to accomplish goals the world around us seems to stand still and the same world also seems to blindly push forward when we aim to be still. The tension is there as we are there. We are the activity.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Black Mass, 2014 (Mixed media on canvas, 54cmx78cm)

It's rather a ridiculous notion that painting could carry any meaning that isn't simply the individual reaction of the viewer on encountering the work itself. It's just a flat surface, sometimes with texture, sometimes not, sometimes with things glued to it, sometimes not, the variations are limitless. We have an instinctive response to a work but often this changes with time as we learn about other works from the past and present. We like something today we shall dislike tomorrow and vice versa, we learn to appreciate was once was unintelligible to us perhaps from a conscious effort to learn about such works. Why? Why would we like to learn to appreciate what is at the outset unattractive to us? There are as many reasons for this as there are people, but we could simply put it down to good old curiosity. Any paintings presented to us always has certain things in common, particularly the fact that the artist wants to show us something he has made, and preferably engender some sort of emotional response in the viewer, for a multitude of reasons. Beyond this is little else. Thus the mind of the viewer is what matters and the contents of the painted surface is only of secondary importance. 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Danzig, 2014 (Mixed media on canvas, 76cmx120cm)

On Nothing

Nothing is impossible to paint, or to phrase it differently; It's impossible to paint 'Nothing'. When someone applies paint on a surface, there will be marks. Marks come from decisions. If you grab that brush, or other tool for applying paint, and put paint on the surface you've already taken decisions. A decision is something, as is indeed the physical evidence of said decision. One of the fundamental strengths of the format of panting is its predictable formula. Not unlike a theatre stage where actors appear in front of an audience, paint appear on the canvas to 'perform' in front of the viewer. This rather rigid, basic set-up informs the many different styles, subject matters and innumerable other variations we find in painting. Hurrying to add narrative or metaphor onto the surface is traditionally the most travelled path, but contents doesn't always need to be imparted to the work in this way. The painted surface has an inborn resilience, due to its traditional format, that suffices in itself. 'Nothing' needs not to be feared as a painting always contains more than enough of 'Something' by simply being a painting.