"I have no stories to illustrate, no concepts to convey; I am just excited by the magical process of manipulating paint to bring nothingness into being."
I regard myself essentially as an abstract painter; the human figure simply presents itself as an inexhaustible landscape upon which to hang the paint. I paint feeling rather than seek a direct observation or record of the body. It is that which transcends the body that captivates me: that which cannot be seen, that which simply cannot be explained through cipher or words. I have no stories to illustrate, no concepts to convey; I am just excited by the magical process of manipulating paint to bring nothingness into being.
My roots, are without doubt, planted firmly in the European modernist dirt laid down by the likes of Bomberg, Auerbach, Vaughan, Bacon, etc. But of course, the roots go much further back to the likes of Corot, Courbet, Bruegel, Cranach, Goya and Velasquez. It goes without saying that Rembrandt casts a shadow.
The language I use is visual so there's not much to say really. I prefer to have people look and construct their own response based entirely on what they see. I take the Kantian view that the aesthetic does not rest upon any concepts or seek to generate any. The aesthetic judgement is purely subjective and free from purpose. Words just get in the way; as do titles.
It is, of course, impossible for anything to be entirely about nothing. We are complex creatures, existing on many levels. Everything we do is invariably impacted by what we are. Content and form is always a choice at some level. Nothing is without its history, its politics, its ideology, its sexuality. Everything done has meaning and every view taken brings its own meaning; its own subjectivity.
While embracing the Absurd, I do recognise in my paintings, a vain search for meaning and purpose. I am aware of the shift of surface, viewpoint and proportion. I perceive the enclosed, entrapped space and see how the figure is ensnared within the picture plane; how the paint sits flat in places and defies, argues with any notion of monocular perspective. I even recognise the shifting relationship with the structural elements and the feelings this evokes. Are these things contrived or do they simply come into being?
I never plan or sketch; however, proceeding journeys do trigger starting points. A desire to revisit? To try again? I work directly onto the canvas and each layer obliterates the previous. Things appear, shift and disappear. Eyes open, close and are hidden sometimes to appear again; sometimes not. Limbs, hands, feet exist and are amputated. To avoid gesture? Who knows? Mouths, ears, genitals - are they simply part of the landscape or do they convey some meaning?
I am reluctant to deconstruct and explain for fear of killing any motive to paint. Engaging left brain rationality usually inhibits me.
For me, painting is a journey into the unknown and the 'unknown' is always an uncomfortable, challenging place. My paintings emerge slowly through the intense labour of the painting process; it is an alchemistic journey navigating through uncertainty and the frustration of my own limitations.