I began this year long research into my practice with an interest into what constituted to something being considered a wilderness while reflecting on the relationship between humanity and nature. Over the course of the year I began to discover that little of the UK’s landscape could actually be considered as an environment of total wilderness. This was later reinforced after a conversation with a member of the Wildlife Trust when he explained that much of the landscape was in fact tightly managed.
I have been developing my practice as an oil painter for the last ten years. I am currently concerned with making paintings that combine several styles, developed over a multitude of layers, that highlight and demonstrate the development of the painting. I am also interested in combining abstraction and representation, through my choice of mark-making and the process of an intuitive knowledge in the level of details of my subject.
I will look to develop and experiment with the diverse nature of oil paint through utilising mediums, in order to add or detract its viscosity when applying it to the canvas surface. In turn, this will allow paint to bleed or sit on the surface and will allow me to build and develop layers.
In terms of the platform for painting, I will look to develop the canvas surface by leaving bare canvas, exploiting it as a material. This will again look to explore and expose the process of making a painting.
Old Winding Gear, 2016
I have spent a lot of time addressing issues in creating paintings that employ elements of abstraction and representation, whilst also considering how to make my work both interesting and visually engaging.
During the period of January to May, I have concentrated on a smaller number of paintings and this focus has been productive in terms of my development. I am now more confident in permitting myself to be more experimental in what I can achieve with paint and this is allowing me to question and evolve from my previous work and ideas in paint.
The large painting (Old Winding Gear, 2016) has been produced over this period and I do not posit it to be considered a fully resolved painting. I believe it to be a significant painting, as I have utilized this work as a testing ground to experiment and consider new approaches. Taking influence from painters such as Justin Mortimer and Adrian Ghenie, I have employed the use of collage. This has given me a greater freedom in my depiction and allowed me to be more considered in the information that I retain in observations or developed digital collage of my on-site research.
In considering the composition of Old Winding Gear (2016), I aspired for the metal structure of the corroding frame and wheel to dominate the canvas, much as the structure dominates the landscape it resides in. As the viewers’ eyes move from the top to the bottom of the canvas, and survey the impassable object, I wished to create a sense of restricted access to the environment beyond. In doing so I have attempted to mirror Peter Doig’s painting series ‘Concrete Cabin’ and emulate the barrier of structural trees, restricting and trapping the viewer out of the canvas.
Through looking at painters such as Peter Doig and members of the ‘Leipzig School’ (David Schnell and Matthias Weischer) I am now considering how representation and abstraction sit in contemporary painting. I feel that all three have pushed boundaries but have simultaneously retained the tradition of making representational painting. They have allowed themselves to be more inventive with paint, considering its material reality, whilst thinking about the canvas surface and contemplating the choices in how they depict their subjects. Their paintings offer us something new and inventive yet give suggestions of reality.