work in progress: 2017-18
Currently I am working with ideas that have roots in a painting I made in 1964. Oil on board, the work in question is based on a photograph shot from above of a woman treading water in a swimming pool (see below). At the time, my intention was to render a realistic image. But, as the painting developed, the image became flattened and abstracted with certain elements gaining in significance. In particular, I was drawn to the edges of the form and to the lines around and across the swimsuit. The finished work is square with a composition defined by the the swimmer's arms, legs and torso that divide the format into three approximately even areas.
Through this exercise, I became interested in the process of abstraction which evolved into something of a preoccupation with undulating lines. Out of this was born a series of small paintings suggesting movement. Each format was square; the colours limited to three or four, and the compositions mere arrangements of lines that generate strong negative spaces. The series was acrylic on canvas, a medium more suited to the process than oil paint, and one to which I have stayed loyal to this day.
For about ten years, the move away from representational imagery influenced the ideas and images that permeated both my two and three dimensional work. The paintings above are presented in monochrome as the surviving documentation (colour slides) became so faded that, even after digitization and manipulation in Photoshop, true colour could not be resurrected.
More recently, the work has developed from my acceptance that the representational content of early 2017 was haunted by those 'mid-sixties' preoccupations. In essence, I rediscovered that certain elements and colour choices continue to hold as much interest for me now as they did fifty-plus years ago. The difference today is that my experience with materials, mark making and surface quality has evolved. I no longer restrict myself to flat colour and content so minimal that the surface quality of each work is without history.
Perhaps I should have seen this coming when, in 2013, I revisited ideas from the late 1970s although my reasoning at the time was different from what it is today. At that time my interest was simply to recreate some original works in miniature, but with materials and surfaces more lively than those employed to make their antecedents.
Unlike their 60s to 70s roots however, this newest work embraces processes that are, materially, much less a monologue and more a dialogue, perhaps even a conversation. For now however and as I develop and refine this series of works, the visual record - except for a hint in the banner image above - will remain unpublished until exhibition in 2019.
In the hope that this is interesting enough to return to at a later date, please stay tuned.