Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Friday, 15 June 2012

Bet Low and Ivor Cutler

I'm walking to a farm 
to grow wheat
I'm walking to a farm 
to grow wheat
The sky is blue, the sun is yel-low

I'm walking to a farm 
to grow wheat

I'm walking to a farm 
to grow wheat
The duck is white, the pond is gre-y.

I'm walking to a farm 
to grow wheat

Thinking about short-hand ways of describing places visually, a few years ago I got to invigilate on an exhibition which included paintings by the late Bet Low (be-low).  While spending a couple of months with the paintings I was always reminded of  Ivor Cutler's songs and poems, one in particular: I'm Walking to a Farm (above). 
These simplified (but not simple) abbreviated forms of image-making are what interest me now (and I suppose it applies to the figure work I have done in the past). What are the essentials you need to convey place, space or character? How little is needed without losing the poetry part? 

Stuff - Mainly in Graphite- From the Brain

Drawings and studies in graphite [mostly about 5cm x 5cm] or ink and graphite [mainly 10 cm x 10 cm]. These all appeared in quick succession over last few days and though a couple are based on sketches most are just composites of memory or invented.  As they progress I am interested more and more in how to make this sort of short-hand description of place and how to take this further. Alternative title: Freud's Field-day.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Sunday, 10 June 2012

New Work from Models

Some recent figure work here with luminosity and visual interference and disturbance being the main interest.

Ink and watercolour studies

 Oil on board pieces

 Left, Oil on Canvas from an inkjet print of waterclour study Right,Woodcut print and Oil on board

Thursday, 7 June 2012


Below are a few of the artists whose approaches to image-making I am finding most interesting at the moment. Mostly they are peers of mine working in and around Edinburgh, namely Alex Gibbs, Bernie Reid, Callum Montieth ( all members and/or co-founders of Superclub studios) and printmaker and illustrator Liam Golden whose MFA work is showing at the eca degree shows at present. To compensate for image theft, their websites follow thusly : http://www.superclubstudios.com/ , http://www.skinnydip.co.uk/skinny/illustration/bernie-reid/artworks/http://www.alex-gibbs.com/http://www.callummonteith.comhttp://liamgolden.com 

Also in there are Charles Avery and Edvard Munch. I should also like to add to this group the work of Balthus and another  graduating artist  exhibiting in this year's eca Drawing and Painting degree shows Liam Walker  whose suites of minute watercolour and ink 'cartoons' (arranged in domino-game groupings)  were the most memorable and understated works I saw. Unfortunately no images of his work are available online yet.   

What I find most compelling about these works is how they reveal internal worlds and create spaces, landscapes and scenarios which feel impossibly familiar as though the images belong to some sort of shared dream-space or collective subconscious. They just work. With the exception of Avery (who makes explicit the mechanics of his universe through text and maps) these pieces all feel like they  could be windows onto earths very similar to our own. Somewhere where a narrative or internal logic is in operation but which remains unspecified.  

The way in which figures appear in these spaces (Reid, Munch, Balthus, Golden) often alone, central or distant; their forms are implied, totemic or reappear in different works which gives them a real potency. Alternatively, at times, these are images in which nothing very much is going on ( Walker, Gibbs, Golden). They are remarkable for their unremarkableness, (in terms of content); A poetic, gentle kind of desolation. Like Alex Katz's works which capture 'dramatically indeterminate and low-key events' they open up this possibility that anything and everything can be the subject for a painting and it is something of this sort of approach would be welcome into my practice after years of my painting being concerned with selection and editing- arguably to the exclusion of poetry.

I have to conclude that images derived from the imagination and filtered through memory have far greater potency then any kind of mimetic painting can hope to achieve. Unfettered by over-determined statements of intent, they represent symbolic communication at its most subtle and direct

New things

Been a while since last post while I re-orientate myself around the ole studio practice. Though the main focus in the studio so far has been on some new small-scale figure pieces - which will make an appearance soon- at the moment I'm feeling a strong draw towards work which, seems much more open and full of possibility:  Imagined spaces and landscapes; familiar but alien monuments. Ambiguous figures have made a reappearance after visiting exhibition of Munch's graphic works.  And a lot of sky blue and yellow and CMY combinations.
Here are some photos and and bits and pieces. Despite the photos, which establish a kind of space and mood, the drawings are inventions done without direct reference