I’ve made these three large oils in the last couple of months. They are meant to be seen together and represent different perspectives of quite a small area under and around the motorway as you approach it and as you find yourself under it. I’m pretty pleased with these, and I feel they represent a more successful and interesting move forward from my charcoal drawings and the first new motorway painting that I made back in January. They seem much more their own thing with a strong and dynamic interplay between my interests in abstraction and the language of abstract painting set against realist motifs.
Today, I had my first studio visit with one of my mentor’s, Marian Edwards. She was really excited about them too as this was the first time she had seen any of my newer work. It was a huge relief and Marian seemed to ‘get them’ straight away (if that is the right phrase?), as despite being pleased with them myself, I have more than anything else I’ve made in along time wondered how they would be perceived by other people. Of course as with most of my work, there are many artistic references to be found, but I have felt that these particular pieces don’t remind me much of anything else I’ve seen. This feels really exciting but comes with a great deal of uncertainty too. Marian discussed how the trees, which seemed almost Romantic, also reminded her in a funny way of the English landscape tradition. A coincidence, as I’ve been looking at the likes of Constable lately.
Oil on canvas, 100 x 120cms, 2012
It was great to share all this with Marian and to get a more critical response. I used to work alongside other artists and lecturers more in my last job, including Marian, where there was a good dialogue and interest in each other’s practice. In my current job I’m the only practicing Fine Artist in the department with very little opportunity to talk about one’s work. It has led me to feel increasingly isolated in the last five years. If nothing else comes out of the way I use this Grant Award in the next few months, the seeking of critical advice with help from mentors like Marian will be worth everything else, and hopefully help lift me out of this isolation…
(Please forgive the quality of my photographs. Photographing all these black shapes is proving difficult. A good photographer friend, Danny has offered to help shoot them professionally when I need to, I'm glad to say...)