Friday, 12 June 2020

Locked Down

'Lockdown', oil on canvas, 75 x 50cms, 2020

Dreaming strands of nightmare are sticking to my feet…’

from ‘Morning Way’ by Trader Horne

I don’t write so many blog posts these days, and I’m conscious that I haven’t written any since the lockdown, but in the last few days I’ve felt a bit readier to try and write something about what I have been up to, particularly in the studio of course. In the last few weeks some bigger changes are occurring in my work that I’m excited about that have come about as a response to my direct experience of the last twelve weeks, but I’m not going to write one long rambling blog which can be a bit off putting to any casual readers but a few shorter posts.
'The Green Door', oil on canvas, 120 x 80cms, 2020

These first two paintings in this post, which I’m pleased with for all sorts of reasons, I made at the end of March and are connected to the paintings I have been making in the last 18 months, with their images of windows and doorways, and in that sense evoke very much the feeling of a lockdown as everyone was forced to retreat indoors and the shutters came down. ‘The Green Door’, with its title taken from HG Wells story of the same title is an attempt to make a more direct reference to this story and also the philosophical ideas in the book about the door being a gateway or portal to an alternative or parallel reality. These thoughts come via not through my reading of the actual Wells story but my reading of Mark Fisher’s book ‘The Weird and the Eerie’. Fisher’s book made me think, with its writing about many different cultural, largely literary or filmic and television references on the weird and eerie, how it would be useful to develop the framing and contextualising of my work much more explicitly on these lines than previously, particularly when approaching galleries and seeking funds. 

I think my paintings have clearly had aspects of these ‘weird and eerie’ qualities in them, particularly in some of the ‘uncanniness’ in my recent street paintings, that I have been thinking about for a few years now. Actually the seeds of this idea were planted ever since watching the compelling documentary Charlie Lyne  documentary, ‘Fear Itself’ which explored the nature of human fear through the lens of horror movies in a genuinely unsettling montage documentary form. I discussed this film in a previous blog a few years ago and you can still watch it on BBCiplayer on the link below. I’d really recommend it, not least for all the films you will want to watch after viewing it, which is what I also got from Mark Fisher book:  

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