Just before lockdown started, I had a visitor to the studio. He introduced me to some very old Chinese music. One piece in particular stuck in my mind. It followed a river downstream, trying to evoke the different sounds and characters of the water as it progressed from bubbling stream through waterfalls to a meandering river. This somehow tied together many elements of my work and, on blue grounds, I started tracing the course of a leaf as it floated downriver.
Many tangents later, I had paintings that seem radically different from those I made before. In truth they still have the same colours and brushwork and tendencies as my previous work, but they have let go of reality, embraced ambiguity and are just a heartfelt conversation with a set of paintings at an abnormal moment in time. The leaf still has the same basic form and colour as when I started, but context and distortion has turned it variously into flowers, fish, ghosts, angels, rocks and whatever the viewer happens to see. The paintings tread a fine line, balancing liberation with constriction, up with down, stillness with movement, earthly with heavenly, and air with water.
Oil on canvas 1m x 1.5m, Oil on canvas 1m x 1.5m, Oil on board 40.5 cm x 60.5 cm, Oil on board 40.5 cm x 60.5 cm, Oil on panel 12″ x 12″
More paintings to follow…