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Today we have the Gathering of Parts

Today we have the Gathering of Parts

There are several things happening in my studio today.

In the painting department, a detailed  watercolour of Yunnan hay stacks plus several ongoing geometric oil abstractions with a taste of Moroccan carpets, Kuba cutouts, a pinball machine, all ‘somewhere between a map and a hard place.’

Spring sun lights up assorted bits and bobs assembled on my window sill. A turquoise fragment is holding court in a clearing surrounded by a throng of stoney sentinels.

How are all these things connected, apart from my being the ‘Selector’ in the midst?

A conical, triangular, pyramidical connection is apparent.

In both the figurative and abstract paintings the eye finds numerous pathways.

The haystacks are small but might suggest bigger things from tepees to large conical mountains. Memories creep in here of the monumental lime karsts lining the Li River. The structure of Chinese Landscape vertical scroll paintings are never far from my mind.

Every shape is a springboard to another. The restless eye keeps on the move, at times quickly and at others slowly manoeuvring into backwaters or in and out of a cul-de-sac.

Ways Through 2022 Oil

Some shapes appear like off-cuts…  a plough left in a field or flotsam and getsam drifting through dockland.

We move from conversations between congregating shapes approached by angular tadpoles to hieroglyphic tools. There seem to be momentary attractions, then currents carry them away along zig-zagging waterways to side channels where they filter between floating communities.

Matisse said about his paintings that the idea was to ‘lose your way’ the eye never settling.

I equate this to the flippers on a pin table sending the ball bouncing away, from pillar to post.

In this current series of oil paintings, I was at times thinking of islands and reclaimed land, of re-wiggled rivers, of diversions. And then, at others, an added lump changes a plan of a piazza into the elevation of an internal combustion engine.

Spark plugs!

Industrial Archeology 2022 Oil

At times a reference comes that morphs a mountain into a rooftop, subsequently breaking it up to suggest a road symbol… anything is allowed.  An electric cantilever cable becomes a plough and then a kite.

During days of painting, identities transform. It is a long process of pushing lines and shapes back and forth.

Bits and bobs turquoise in the sun 21 4 22 studio

Henry Reed’s poem “Naming of Parts”

My Lockdown Ziggurat

My Lockdown Ziggurat

During Lockdown, a stack of roofing-timber offcuts, discarded in my garden, became the key to creative play.  

It all started as something different to do as a birthday treat while  ‘locked in’. During ‘Lock down’, in the absence of opportunities for physical travel, recollections of places visited and imagined were finding a way into my painting themes.  

So why not build a solid ziggurattish thing.  

I was fortunate to have a sizeable garden. My lawn became the arena for months of play as the zigguratttish thing became a  fortress, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, a Balinese Gateway, a citadel,  a temple, which would send out tendrils connecting to lesser | templets’, communities and strategic outposts.  

I did not alter the initial shapes, my invention came in the way they were periodically arranged and dispersed among fresh pastures.  Every ten days or so the theme would change to allow the lawn to revive. A tree of life-giving way to peninsulas, railway sidings,  canals and, eventually, with the arrival of winter, bamboo stick supports lifting the planks clear of the grass to create boardwalks.  

I learned to tell the time by the cast shadows.  

Seasonal changes enhanced the surfaces, as did falling leaves,  rain, frost and snow.  

Beans, lettuces (and slugs) leant their support from the prime grandstand position of a neighbouring vegetable patch. Sporadic repairs were sometimes needed after nightly interference by animals or wind. Only gravity held the parts together. There were sunny days when I would lie down on the grass to be on the same level as the blocks, to feel their monumentality. Just as I did as a child arranging my toy bricks among the rectilinear oriental patterns of our living room carpet. Everything connects.  Subsequently, new shapes have been introduced into my paintings as a result of my garden Lockdown diversion. 

To the casual onlooker my morning exercises, standing amongst my constructions, might have seemed like a meditative ritual.  Perhaps it was. Perhaps that is what painting is.

The starting platform is now the only evidence that remains.  The grass is upright. 

The wood offcuts are again a discarded heap, secretly waiting for..!!  Whoknows Wat!

For more of my Constructions series, explore Gallery 12: Constructions in the main menu or go here