“The Fall” is a series of works based on an iconoclastic view of societal structure disintegrating into chaos.
(i) Constantinople – refers to the ideological capital of many historic empires that rose and fell successively.
(ii) Atlas Shrugs – a society made up of atomic individuals pursuing private interests. I was influenced by the philosophy of Ayn Rand: but I felt that a world where altruism has been vanquished by logical selfishness is assured of destruction.
(iii) The Aftermath – the moment of total obliteration following destruction, when nothing is left but clouds of dust and sub-atomic fragments.
My starting point was the collision between notions of Romantic painting tradition in landscape painting and the experienced world of the artist in the industrial age. As now, you had only to open a newspaper to see violent images from war zones and the very real sense of social and political disenfranchisement affecting many people, especially in urban settings. I was inspired by the way JMW Turner responded to contemporary events as well as to historic events in his dynamic landscapes, rich in atmosphere and symbolic references.
I intend not only to provoke an emotional response but also a consideration of how organic and mechanical systems are in constant flux, and that disintegration into chaos is an inevitable and intriguing part of the evolution of order. The challenge for me was to communicate a series of moments in time, not as frozen pauses but fluid streaming passages.
Processes are vital to my work. My techniques as well as my imagery are related to strong responses to a succession of moments. I paint marks that can be seen as pure smears of paint, but are also evocative of recognisable shapes and structures, focussing on tiny details without becoming too faithful to reality. The experience is of capturing in paint a frequency of sound or a physical sensation. There is a constant struggle between the sharp structures I put into place, and how I work them into a hazy memory of something seen before.
Important influences include Jackson Pollock and his frenzied surfaces that crackle with noise and energy, as well as Anselm Kiefer’s use of historical references and mythology. As is evident in my subject matter I share Kiefer’s preoccupation with destruction and rebirth.