Yesterday I finally installed this exhibition of my ‘crapola’ still lives at the college I work at, Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form, ahead of our annual Arts Festival this Saturday, the 7th.
Since making the commitment that this is what I would show this year, I’ve been working really hard on pushing forward with these small paintings in the last few weeks and trying to make some sort of statement in relation to the ‘Edgelands’ with them. I’ve made over 30, and installed 28 in the exhibition. I think I’m pretty pleased, but I’m not entirely sure. The response from people has been very positive, however so that’s great. When I completed my last one on Sunday night I did feel that I had come to the end of this particular road for now, and it would be good to return to my landscape work. I’m a bit exhausted by them.
It does feel like it has been worthwhile though, and in a way my first statement within my edgelands project. It’s good now to draw a line under them, and move on. This is the statement (below) that I decided to present alongside the work…
'Over the last few months whilst out and about in cafes, restaurants and motorway service stations I have become a little obsessed with scooping up my bits of leftover packaging, empty cups and cartons and screwed up paper bags and stuffing them in my jacket pockets to take back to the studio to make these small still life paintings. As I have made more of them and hung them on the studio wall I felt they have slowly begun to develop and suggest possible layers of meaning related to the increasing banalization of culture in our globalized and corporate controlled society.
This society’s values are reflected in the reduced edgelands landscape of motorway service stations and retail parks. In this society the pursuit of profit is considered as the only means of salvation for mankind, and turnover the absolute priority. Individual identity seems to become more and more lost and the world reduced to familiar signs and symbols encouraging us to buy more, consume more.
The single, empty cups and ephemera represent this loss of identity and also the solitude in which people today live. A solitude confirmed daily by networks of bodiless and false images concerning the world. The paintings of brushes standing up in turps filled jars represent this painter’s attempt to paint and reclaim a more tangible reality and a more personal interaction with the world. I don’t view painting as an outdated activity in the digital age.
Today, to try and paint is an act of resistance instigating hope.'
Yeah, I'm a bit surprised to have ended up here too. That's what excites me about them in the end....