Looking over my recent paintings I've been trying to work out what brings them together? How I could define my style (-This, by the way, is not necessarily my concern when painting, but seems to be desired when making the work available to the outside world.) from a body of work which is, after all, based on whim and a tendency towards fruit-fly like concentration?
I begun by thinking that the work is preoccupied with naturalism - at least from a drawing perspective. This is true to an extent; I have always enjoyed the technical skill of reproduction in drawing, and am keen to make my use of line both expressive and energetic. Yet, although some of paintings are about representing the natural world, there are many that deviate from what exisits in the 'real world', taking inspiration from graffiti, comics and cartoons.
I like the combination of renaissance type observation and contemporary use of pattern and line to suggest the movement potential of each moment. And here we begin to see the importance of timing. How the drama of movement comes to be considered in a static form. I can see claer attempts to impart the dynamism of movement in much of what I paint, however I am also aware of the importance of stasis, of the moment of contemplation, the moment before action. I guess this in many ways represents the dual sides of me; the one hyperactive - eager to complete a task quickly and urgently, the part of me obessessed with the passing of time; whilst the other is the side of me that yearns for peace, for contemplation - the side that enjoys the monkey puzzle of thought and the Brazil nut of theory.
Though it is not yet a dominant presence in my paintings, I am obsessed with the sea and the sky; two elements that exemplify movement and tranquility - that stimulate my appreciation of pace and quiet. You can see this more obviously in my drawings - some of which are on the site. More remain in the sketch books that provide me the freedom to fully engage with the world by observing from a distance; the little volumes of oxymoron that help me find a pathway through hours and minutes in the day.
These obessions bring to mind the work of Turner (good ol' J.M.W. himself), whose work is full of the play of light, and the impact of the moment. From "Rain, Steam and Speed", which brings together the violent movement of the modern with the vast expanse of nature - seizing hold of an instant through the flickering light on water vapour; to seascapes' where the sea is brought to a tumult around the viewer.
My abiding recollection of Turner comes from a visit I made to the then Tate Gallery whilst at school, researching the painter for a project. I wandered, rapt, through the Clore gallery fascinated by the use of paint to evoke the shimmer, gloss and shade of light. Memorably I was able to have access to the back catalogue of Turner's watercolours. You go up from the main gallery into a library room, full of furniture of wooden hues and patterns, where the paintings are brought out in folders and you are able to see them up close. Viewing these snapshots of time and landscape (and shitting myself at the realisation of the damage a thoughtless and over-excited dribble might have), witnessing the energy and vibrancy with which he was able to freeze the movement gave me both a thrill and a massive inferiority complex (ironically only really possible becuase of an overdeveloped ego in the first place).
In Turner I see a concern with time, with the inherent contradiction between movement and a static image. This is what draws me to him - his sense of the power of the exact moment. In this I begin to see my own concerns mirrored back at me, and start to sketch out an understanding of what my own work is looking for. Of course, maybe it's just my skewed sense of humour, and my obsession with the fundamentals of comedy - my inablity to properly take things seriously, that give me this need to explore all the variations of - wait for it... timing.