My work openly explores and dismantles the boundaries between life and death, embracing an age old contemplation.
I lost my son, Louis, in June 2020 in extremely tragic circumstances. My new emotionally charged work is an honest and powerful expression of my grief, exploring spirituality and transformation as a view to immortality. Images suggest a spiritual transformation with a radiating energy. The ethereal emerges as a sign of hope and optimism beyond our physicality. They are like visions, a spiritual awakening.
I am interested in how, often in great despair or grief, ‘we’ may reach out to belief systems in an attempt to makes sense of things and regain purpose. Whilst the work is of a none-religious nature some images appropriate familiar symbols in order to reference human nature, its infinite curiosity/need to gain meaning and its acquired inability to escape self-cognizance.
STATEMENT PRE 2020:
My drawings have been described, appropriately, as: menacing and mischievous, serenely melancholic, sexual, dark and sinister, but playful and humorous.
My technique is both aggressive and delicate in execution. 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 one of the recurring elements 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 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 – enhanced more by the spin-off series now titled, ‘Monsters’. But even under this new rubric of ‘Monster’, there’s still a playful, almost jokey, lure into the darkness.
Stanley Greening 2019