“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.
Important information for artists who have submitted their work to the 168 Annual Open Exhibition