work in progress: late 2017 - early 2018
Currently, I am rethinking and reworking ideas 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 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 that were, in essence, focused on movement. The format was again a square, the colours 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 the work than oil paint - and one I have stayed loyal to ever since.
For the next decade, the move away from representational imagery 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 the original colour slides documenting the work became so faded with age that, even after adjustments in Photoshop, 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 rediscovered that certain 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 sufficient to restrict myself to flat colour or for content to appear so minimal as to suggest that the work could be fabricated from plans by a third party.
Perhaps, 1n 2013, I should have seen this coming when I revisited ideas from the mid to late 1970s. At the time, my interest was simply to recreate the original works in miniature, but with different materials and with more lively surfaces than was possessed by their antecedents.
Unlike their forebears of the 1960s to 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 I am looking further back in time. But, for now at least and apart from the this page's banner detail , the new work remains studio-bound as modifications are likely before it sees the light of day. Such is the process. Stay tuned.