work in progress: late 2017 - early 2018
Currently, I am rethinking and reworking ideas that evolved from a painting that I made in late 1964 (see below). It began with a photograph shot from above of a person treading water in a swimming pool. Initially, I intended to render a realistic painting but, as it developed, the hitherto-3D image became abstracted and flattened, and certain elements gained in significance. In particular, were the edges of the form and the lines around and across the swimsuit. The format of the finished painting was square and the background divided into three segments defined by the edges of the swimmer's arms, legs and torso
I liked what had become an exercise in abstraction and out of a flow of lines came a series of small paintings. The format was again a square, the colours were limited to three or four and the compositions mere arrangements of abstract, linear elements. For this series the finished products were acrylic on canvas, a medium more suited to this kind of work than oil paint and one I have stayed loyal to ever since.
Consciously moving away from representational imagery, for about a decade this approach influenced a succession of ideas and images that permeated both two and three dimensional work. Here, the paintings are shown in black and white as colour slides made to document work became so faded with age that, even after adjustments in Photoshop, it was clear that the true colours could not be resurrected.
Recently, my work has been developing from a realisation that, even in the representational content of early 2017, ghosts from the mid-sixties were reasserting themselves. In essence, I discovered that familiar elements and colour choices hold as much interest for me now as they did fifty-plus years ago. The difference today is that, in the intervening years, my experience with materials, mark making and surface quality has evolved. No longer is it enough to restrict myself to flat colour nor for content to appear so minimal as to suggest that a work could be fabricated from my plans but by a third party.
Perhaps I should have seen this coming in 2013 when I revisited ideas from the 1970s. At the time, my interest was simply to recreate the original works in miniature, but with different materials and with surfaces painted with more 'life' than was possessed by their ancestors.
Unlike the work of the 1960s to the mid 1970s, in this new work each application of paint is less a material-monologue and more a sensuous-dialogue. Perhaps ironically, in order to move my practice forward, currently, I am looking further back in time. But, for now at least and other than the detail in this page's banner, the new work will remain unseen. I still need to wrestle with it and significant modifications are likely before any of it sees the light of day. Stay tuned.