Searching for meaning and a sense of place
All Memory is filtered by subsequent events to the point that others may not recognise the alternate reality that has been created.
By re-telling a story, events are added, distorted and modified to suit both audience and tellers increasing the disparity between reality and a memory of that reality.
My recent work is based on my memories of Berlin during the late 60’s when, as a child, I would spend summers visiting my German grandparents and have to pass through a series of checkpoints run by the occupying troops, the first to enter East German, the second to enter Berlin.
The Russian checkpoints were always the most difficult to negotiate, setting up the backdrop to weeks of contrasts: blissfulness in an environment of enforced isolation and division, with days spent negotiating the impact of both a divided Germany and the omnipresent effect of the Berlin Wall.
Although the embrace of family and community was strong, these visits were permeated by much that was left unsaid, stories told in a foreign language with much that I didn't want to know, places where access was recently denied.
While listening to radio free berlin, I preferred an imagined reality, a reality based on incomplete memories, and partial truth, achieving a form of reconciliation only by leaving but knowing that I would return.
Using squeegees, stiffened paint brushes and palette knifes for detail, paintings start with a broad field of paint into which signifying marks are made and over which specific details are layered to explore the disparity between what was and what was remembered.
Non-figurative landscape elements that create a notion of place merge with fixed points and specific memories to create a single abstract expression.
Canvas is left unpainted either as vestigial space to allow the subject to breathe or from a belief that what isn't said also has value; the canvas merely records a fleeting moment.
Pen y Fan
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Stripped of figurativeness, some works reflect a single state of being.
They were created in multiple sittings by not thinking about the canvas but giving up to the paint and allowing the paint to find itself.
Some of the series could not be named other than by the use of a single letter.
Man has always made marks: sometimes to assert his position within society , sometimes to reflect the glory of a god, other times to just make a record of an event: These paintings make secular marks to reflect this human need.
Some are very personal whereas others tell stories but all use line as a signifier.