When I lost my son, Louis, in June 2020, it had a major impact on my life and subsequently my art. See: standupforlouis.org
My work embraces an age old contemplation, it’s an emotionally charged exploration into the concept of spirituality and transformation as a view to immortality. As I dismantle the boundaries between life and death, my work resides somewhere in the space between.
As I grapple with my own traumatic experience and awakening I investigate how, often in great despair, ‘we’ may reach out to belief systems in an attempt to seek reasoning and regain a sense of purpose. Whilst I do not consider my work religious, some images appropriate familiar symbols as metaphysical gateways or focal points for a meditative gaze. The ethereal emerges as a sign of hope and optimism beyond our own fragile condition.
Narrative has always been important to me and this continues in my later work, although perhaps with less mischievous allegory.
Statement pre 2020
My drawings have been described, appropriately, as: menacing and mischievous, serenely melancholic, sexual, dark and sinister, but playful and humorous.
The multi-layering of oil pastel and pencil creates depth and attempts to emulate the marks and surfaces achieved in materials like paint, clay or plaster. The images often take on a biomorphic quality as scratches reference marked time and inevitable scarring of the epidermal layer.
When three dimensions become two, references to scale often become ambiguous. A background might become a backdrop when objects cast vertical shadows upon it. The images, with prop-like objects, seem more like dioramas, scenes waiting for further content, or long forgotten stage sets. The narrative is, essentially, misleading.
Water, or fluid, is a recurring element in my work, appearing as puddles, ponds or streams. This ‘water’ is always depicted dark and the scratched, reflective, surfaces do not reveal the true depth or what may be lurking beneath. I like to tease, often hiding an alternative narrative in plain sight. Allegory plays an important role, as does the absurdity of our existence.
In a series of drawings, collectively titled, ’Nests’, I weave a mass network of branch or capillary-like structures often with tangled ladders. These stark, black, networks create unknown, menacing, depth. They become sinister traps as much as they represent, by title, somewhere homely and secure. A recent development of these drawings produces a more organic feel, creature-like forms emerging from the twisted mass.