I’m aware it’s been quiet here over the last few months so perhaps it’s time to let you in on a couple of secrets.
Over the last two years a huge part of my time has been spent making something way outside of my comfort zone, simply because it had to be made. I had been watching the problems in Iraq and Syria quite closely. Suddenly, the news was full of the destruction of statues in Mosul museum and the demolition of ancient ruins like Palmyra. This triggered a strong reaction in me, but also in other people. The media was more interested in the beheading of statues than the beheading of people. I set out to un-destroy the statues and to investigate why their destruction had had so much power. The project has grown and grown, becoming a wide ranging visual critique of IS’s strategies, our own reactions to them and the seasonal nature of history. As things stand, it is a 12′ x 9′ multi panel piece made of 13 paintings. Most of the paintings are made by alternating between creation and destruction. There still some contextualising pieces that are not yet started. Some of the paintings are finished and some still need refinement but it is developed enough that I am about to start approaching people with a view to exhibiting it. (A link to a preview page will be here soon).
The thing that is occupying most of my time at the moment is working on a series of substantial skyscapes for a company called Little Van Gogh. They specialise in placing work in prestigious offices. There will be more specifics about this in due course. I won’t put up unfinished work here (although if I ever get into the habit of Instagram you might see some there) but suffice to say skies are complex things for me. On the one hand, they’re simple representations which build on everything you see here. On the other they have a certain metaphorical value for me. This really started to develop during the IS/Daesh project mentioned above because certain passages in the paintings of explosions provided Hubblesque glimpses of infinity and because that project as a whole forced me to confront the relationship between art and divinity. This has merged with my tendency to see the landscape in a magical way and a casual aside I said when mixing earth pigments for these paintings – “painting is the act of taking mud and turning it into sky” – and I’m increasingly seeing pictures of skies as powerful metaphors for what it is to be human, and in particular the power and fragility of aspirations and emotions.