“A painting is an artificial work existing outside of nature and needs as much cunning as the perpetration of a crime” – Degas 1887.
I have always been intrigued by this statement by Degas. His work, although figurative, has many abstract qualities, especially in terms of composition – some of his compositions are quite amazing even by 21stcentury comparisons. My work also attempts to create complex compositions and tries to harness together very disparate elements of art: (drawing) lyrical and gestural abstraction with geometry and structure; spontaneity yet control, order and chaos; colour and form. The work essentially employs drawing and markmaking activities working together to provide a rhythmic ‘dynamic’ in the work in which colour is dominant. There are ‘accidental’ suggestions of figurative/organic forms which encourage a wider personal engagement with the work and its interpretation; but fundamentally the work is pure abstraction – non referential. Titles of my paintings may conjour up images in the viewers mind but they are for contemplation only rather than a narrative. These titles come from my passion for 1960s Northern Soul music, which has tremendous energy and sense of abandonment in a physical and romantic context, and which reflects my painting style. I was a DJ in Wigan in the 60s and 70s and my immersion in this music provides me with a meaningful reason to identify my work by the title of a particular piece of music and the memories it evokes. The world I invite you to enter has no signposts or advisory guidelines for the understanding of the work but offers the viewer the freedom of interpretation as you enter into a personal exploration and understanding of my work. The surface of the painting is kept simple to allow ‘drawing’/expression to be the quintessential feature; and it is in response to the music and energetic dance moves of Northern Soul Music that provide the element of action and dynamism in my work.