My current series of work consists of painting and mixed-media/resin pieces. The painting are completed with artist quality oil paint (Michael Harding) which has excellent colour fastness, The work is painted on a tradition gesso ground and is titled and signed on the reverse. I typically work on both canvas and board. The paintings are dry-brushed thus removing any indication of brush marks they have a very flat, matt, non-reflective surface. The resin work completed in tandem with the painting is constructed from layers of mulitfarious materials; collage, acrylic paint, oil paint, water-based ink, letraset, cellulose spray paints all of which are embedded in layers of artist grade resin over a wooden ground. This is an exceptional durable medium, unaffected by UV light, providing exceptional longevity. It forms part of a series of work entitled "These Foolish Things..." This series is, in turn, part of a larger, over arching narrative "Vorstellung" that informs all of my practise. A fuller synopsis follows......
THESE FOOLISH THINGS……….
The meaning of the title of Schopenhauer’s great work, The World as Will and Representation, is that there are two ways of looking at reality: on the one hand the world is will, the ultimate thing-in-itself and the alternative stance is that the world is representation, which is how the world appears to us in certain forms imposed by our experience.
A representation is any object that appears to a subject, i.e., any object appearing in consciousness, such as things seen, heard or imagined. Crucially, it is only as subjective representations that these objects are even objects, that is to say, there is no object without a subject. There is no sense in which an object is thinkable except as being apprehended from a point of view. Objects are therefore mind-dependent. Representations, then, are products of the mind or brain, and this fits well with the alternative translation of Vorstellung as idea. It might also help to bear in mind yet another translation, which suggests something that is placed before the mind’s eye. This presenting takes place in the various mental faculties of perceiving, imagining, deducing, and so on, because there are different categories of representation, namely the perceived objects of experience, the images of the imagination, the universal forms depicted in art, and concepts.
So what we think of, as the real world is, as Schopenhauer says on more than one occasion, mere representation!
These Foolish Things….
….Remind Me of You; the title of this eponymous standard - which I have purloined for this series of work – presents the listener with a string of disparate triggers or touch points to induce a memory or recollection of the subject, in the case of the song, a person. I have appropriated this concept, selecting a set of visual references that are collectively composed within the picture plane and have adopted a palette and mode of construction to elicit a sense of nostalgia, wistfulness, or, even possibly, melancholy. Dependent on the viewer this could conceivably be a memory; childhood reflection, person or thing. The bucolic scenes presented to the viewer are “consructs”; imaginary, fictious locations not located in the real world and hence open vessels for interpretation!
This series of work was initiated by my response to a random set of found imagery, objects and text* collected over the summer of 2015. I consciously selected imagery that held particular personal value and associations - this resource material although predominantly based around the natural world were only loosely connected, but nevertheless, as individual references they are, for me, loaded or charged and therefore possess a autobiographical poignancy and in keeping with the spirit of Schopenhauer. The resulting mixed-media collages are composed to develop a sense of coherence or narrative. The collage and disparate media are suspended between layers of resin although this is an attempt to further homogenise the picture plane the multiple strata generated are perhaps a fitting metaphor for the passage of time, alluvial or sedimentary deposits that signal millennial time shifts and relate to our universal, accumulated experience. The resulting oil paintings re-work or re-edit these initial collages; cropping, inverting, flipping, shifting scale.
*There are literary references in the form of fragments of Philip Larkin’s poem “MCMXIV”.
oil paint, acrylic, ink, resin