My work is an exploration of aspects of painting where the photograph and multimedia cannot follow – a rich textured paint surface, sculpted forms and intense glazed colours.
I enjoy that tension between paint surface and the painted form, between image and expression, and want to explore that uneasy equilibrium. I also embrace some concepts from the 1930’s and 1960’s when shaped canvases were more prevalent as the idea that painting is thin sculpture, and need not be in the same rectangular format as a window or television screen.
One of the most interesting things about paintings is the assumption that they are flat and provide a mirror on the world in some way, when even the thinnest paint surface is not flat and has a profile in 3 dimensions. The shaped canvas works are a reflection of this concept as the opportunity to explore textured forms is taken up further.
Some paintings are based on reinterpretations – like the bijinga of Utamaro where the shaped form of the canvas and scale contrast the tight form and flat shaped required by the registered printing block. The use of the ukiyo e image is an interest that develops from a gap in western art teaching for the tenets of Japanese art and modes of expressions. This despite the adoption of modes from these images from the 1850’s on in Van Gogh, some impressionists and then the Nabis.
My works is almost always begun through drawings, pencil watercolour or pen and ink and wash. I then develop paintings from these drawings in the studio rather than painting from life or in plein air. The time and deliberate care taken allows reflection, contemplation and abstraction to occur. This is a traditional methodology which has also served modernists well. This practice holds as a tenet that art communicates knowledge and ideas rather than replicating images in the pursuit of the illusion of reality in art.
My works are often of recognisable subjects, include portraits and often are of musicians. I like drawing and painting them as subjects as they are usually so at home with and intent on the instrument and music that the instrument becomes an extension of their bodies, almost an additional limb.