Monday, 4 July 2016

The Late Shift...

oil on canvas, 200 x 150cms, 2016
If you had been wondering what I’ve been working on in the last few months (though I don’t imagine anyone has!), it has been this large (200 x 150cms) painting. This is the third, and final, painting of this size which I had originally embarked upon for my show at Wolverhampton Art Gallery which was scheduled in May earlier this year. I had planned to create these three paintings specifically for the gallery space, and had stretched and primed all three large canvasses when I decided to pull out of the show. Still, having made the commitment to these pieces I was determined to see them through. I thought they would hopefully stretch and extend my work with this lorry theme into more challenging and formally complex areas. This has certainly been the case, particularly with this final painting which has taken me three months to complete.
 Artic Landscape, oil on canvas, 200 x 150cms, 2015-16
oil on canvas, 200 x 150cms, 2016

It has gone through many different, although often slight, stages to get to something I am satisfied with. It depicts a transport hub seen from the roadside above, with a large warehouse in the background and a line of trucks sitting at the edge of the interior space. The middle and foreground depicts a large, empty, concrete space with a group of pallets huddled together near the front. These ‘zones’ of space and the geometry have been very difficult to realize in terms of colour and treatment, and have been continually redrawn, repainted, rubbed down and tried again. I could never seem to quite get there.  At one point I thought I had got there and repainted the sky only to return the next evening to find the paint from this re- painted section had run all over the rest of it. Bugger.  In some ways though, I didn’t mind. I like how these disasters force you to think and push on again and resolve them. I don’t normally just touch up a painting to recover it, I tend to try something completely different, which is what I did this time. I repainted nearly the whole thing in about an hour and a half with lots of paint and large brushes. 

The painting is an attempt to explore more explicitly the abstraction in the image, but also approach an idea about the presence of an entirely man-made landscape scene and it’s otherworldly, alien qualities. It is obviously a place of human activity, but that also seems very absent too. Anyway…it’s hard just now to judge it that well having worked and lived with it for quite a long time. I know I am ready to leave it on its own at least.

Tomorrow, through my association with Eastside Projects in Digbeth, Birmingham, I am having a discussion/crit about my work with sculptor Des Hughes as part of their 1-2-1 scheme which I’m looking forward to. He too is interested in the transformation of the banal and everyday in his sculptural objects so I’m hoping it will be useful to talk with him.

No comments: