STATEMENT 1995: Canton Library


My current work is a continued exploration of themes which have occupied me for several years.  From 1987 until last year all my work was based on some sixty objects within a large still-life arrangement.  The work consists mainly of paintings and drawings which examine this still-life as an environment and the objects as exhibits from an unfamiliar world.  In the last year I have been working on painted canvases which isolate one object from the still-life against a field of flat colour.  These attempt to embody the mystery of material objects seen as themselves alone, separated from function, context, association and so on.  The world is so full of a number of things; only a painted canvas is physically present in these works.  Nevertheless the presence of objects is strongly felt by means of the everyday miracle of representation – a wonder which retains its magical quality even though the mechanism is plainly visible.  The thin layer of paint covering the canvas, which is understood as pure colour or as part of an image in different areas, provides an absurd conjunction of detail and emptiness that fascinates me in terms of aesthetics and perception.

The painted works I am involved with now are a development from the previous group.  The images used are not derived from the still-life, but are representations of domestic objects that might be found in a child’s picture book.  These are shown against two equal fields of colour which could be taken to be a landscape (and which are affirmed and denied to be this by other elements).  All this work, and especially the recent work, is an attempt to use some of the conventions of painting to produce the sublime from the banal, while alluding to the history of art in general and modern painting in particular.