Artist Statement - Ardour
My work is all about gesture; a physical trace of movement through space, motion to express thought, embodied marks set in time.
Each individual work has a history of 10 or more completed works until the lines and their movements synchronise into some kind of intuited whole. I work with the fluidity, viscosity, opacity and transparency of paint, a variety of mark-making tools that I have designed myself and the effects of chance, control and an overall conceptual intent. I keep going until a find a spatial balance; a sense of ordered freedom, a unified variety of rhythms and streams.
I have considered using gold since my years in Japan and the way it was traditionally used to great effect to create mysterious illumination from shadowy alcoves in homes. These works are intended to be seen in rooms where changing light conditions fire up the work and make the calligraphic strokes blaze. The gold under-painting is intended to add an intensity to ideas about interactivity, a catching of light when moving past the work, a light that follows the viewer.
Energy, passion, fervour, intensity, ardour. These are the ideas that have fueled this work in order to materialize and fix an unfolding event.
Work on New Work
Milford Galleries have published a catalogue for the exhibition. What a superb Gallery support they are.
Ok, so I ended up scrapping everything I had shown in the previous blog and made some ruthless decisions about the look of the show. I decided that all the work would be on a base of gold with a flat earthy dense mottled matt colour over it. At first I thought silver and gold and then I thought just gold, as it's so lovely and warm, and fitted the overall concept of 'Ardour ' better than steely silver.
1. passion, feeling, fire, heat, spirit, intensity, warmth, devotion, fervour, vehemence, fierceness
2. enthusiasm, zeal, eagerness, earnestness, keenness, avidity
I work 'wet in wet', so once its dry the work is finished, I can no longer move things around. So I have several goes at inscribing gestures and work out where I want a work to go. Sometimes I rework a work 20 times and I photograph the versions along the way. It's a horrible moment in reflection when I look at the images and see that actually I have destroyed a a work that had 'something' special. I cannot ever reproduce the gestures in the same way, and I ususually start pretty wild, refining and extracting as I go.
With this series they all had to have a different visual gestural unpinning idea: falling, throwing, growth, energy, 3d space, locks of hair, fire, weeds, supple-jack, ribbons, knotted trees, ikebana, grass and agapanthus leaves.
I'm really excited about how interactive the gold makes the work. I varnished over the gold so its not a gaudy gold but more straw gold, very shiny and it picks up the light and moves it over the gestures when you look at the work. It blazes in a really dramatic way with changing light conditions in a domestic setting and goes quiet at night under electric lights.
The matt paints I use are so dense, rich and velvety. The downside is they are really sensitive to greasy fingers and scuffs so this painting has to be handled very carefully, and that's always a worry. Many artists I admire who use similar materials have work cordoned off as painting generally often longs to be touched.