A selection of paintings from 2002 to 2014
It has been interesting for me to choose a selection of paintings from my archive, and to realise that over the course of my artistic career a language has gradually developed. A consistency of mark making, risk-taking and obvious influences is apparent and reassures me that there is an overall confidence in the paintings exhibited here.
I have consciously chosen a group of paintings which I feel complement each other in palette and compositional style, ranging from small glazed works to large abstract statements.
Painterly inspiration presents itself with references most strongly connected to the “middle generation” St Ives artists such as Roger Hilton and Terry Frost. But my style has reached beyond this, towards Abstract Expressionism, with the drips and daubs and sweeping gestural marks, for example dashes of red on neutral grounds.
Abstract in subject matter, these paintings all display autobiographical references. In 2000 I returned to England after five years of living in Normandy, France. Having grown up in Sussex, I decided to move to West Penwith in Cornwall. Many a childhood holiday had been spent in St Ives, mainly during the winter months, when the light and feeling of space are at their most dramatic. These holidays, full of sketching and painting, wild walks and studio visits, made a strong impression on me and formed the beginning of my fascination with the artists so closely associated with this place.
In 'Bay' the rich earth colours of the strong stripes across the surface add dimension to the watery harbour landscape suggested behind, bringing the nature of the surrounding moors and granite outcrops together with the sea and the special translucent light that engulfs the town. These same references can be seen in 'Kenidjack', the earthy tones of the pigment redolent of the landscape surrounding my studio near St Just.
'Track' is a painting which I made around the time I discovered the International Musicians Seminar held at Prussia Cove each year. A series of classical concerts are held in local churches twice a year by renowned maestri and their students, with the opportunity to sit in on the masterclasses and rehearsals in wonderfully secluded and rugged surroundings. I liken the shapes in this painting to the ritual of walking down the coastal path to discover new musical delights at the bottom of the track.
The South of France is another favourite destination and in 'Maure' the curvy circuitous line suggests the scenic cork oak tree lined roads over the mountains to St Tropez and beyond.
The circle is a recurring theme in my paintings, as are the colours black, white and red. I associate these abstract shapes and colours with so many things that they become metaphors for ideas and provide poetic license for my thoughts. Titles often emerge after a painting is completed, at which point I will realise that something I have been reading, looking at or feeling, has fed into my work. For this reason I feel all the work, abstract as it is by nature, to be autobiographical deconstructions and reconstructions of life.