2004 : Open Studios,‘Evolving Series’


A pivotal painting is the main studio space, high up on the wall facing the window, Coppice. It is the last in a series of Tree paintings and depicts pinpoints of light in a dense coppice. Looking at it again it occurred to me that I could be looking down as well as ahead or up, as one does walking through a forest. This was the starting point of what was to become a series of Pond triptychs, in which, looking down on a water’s surface, there are also pinpricks of sparkly light with the suggestion of wind rippling it (eg Pond IV).

In parallel with the Tree series, there is a substantial group of paintings involved with movement of water: Downstream (with rubbish) and river paintings. These two types of movement (dynamic and rippled surface) fused and evolved into a mainly black and white collaged series of floods, later juxtaposed with urban images.

As I look at it now, there are also several links between much earlier works such as the Pueblo series (eg Pueblo IV) and recent ones eg Urban Flood, cubist-like images of crumbled architecture and the use of collaged drawings (eg Submerged City I-IV) which have rippled collaged surfaces, sometimes increased or decreased in scale.

Also linked to these paintings of the submerged cities are La Cathedral Engloutie I and II which have the title of Ceri Richard’s paintings based on Debussy’s Prelude in mind – the idea of a sunken cathedral whose bells chimed though from the sea bed.

Another current series beginning in 1983 depicts windows, doorways, arches, mirrors and grilles. This grew from my involvement with Velazquez’s Las Meninas and its use of ambiguous use of mirrors and doors. The most recent works have light and blue sky appearing through openings in undefined architectural spaces. These are more sanguine than many earlier paintings in which grilles on windows (as seen over much of Southern Europe and on particular for me, Spain) suggest protection of confinement. The ambiguity of whether you are inside or outside reflects my interest in paradox. These are links to the idea of Collateral Damage and crumbled buildings.

Another small group is the playful Sportif series: balls moving though space with squash, billiards, fives, tennis and cricket in mind.

Night Coppice  1999,173 x 229 cm

Night Coppice 1999,173 x 229 cm

Pond IV  2003, 168 x 203 cm

Pond IV 2003, 168 x 203 cm

Windows  2004-5,102 x 102 cm

Windows 2004-5,102 x 102 cm

Inside  1996-7, 41 x 122 cm

Inside 1996-7, 41 x 122 cm

Sportif II Bounce  2001-2, 40 x 83 cm

Sportif II Bounce 2001-2, 40 x 83 cm