Archive for May 26th, 2008

Doppelgangers – (new work)


Around 10 years ago I did a painting for The New Art Gallery, Walsall about the death of my grandparents called Memorial Painting. It was a large 8 foot diptych featuring on one side their empty rooms and on the other panel 26 objects from that room. As I stood in that room there was a sense of absence, reflection and emptiness and the objects brought back and provoked many memories for me. The objects seemed to reflect and reinforce their identity and sudenly these everyday, banal items, which in truth, were about ready for the bin had suddenly become incredibly significant and precious. The act of painting the objects seemed to elevate their importance from the merely banal, something so worthless seemed suddenly valuable. The objects viewed in isolation set against a white background and then painted seems to make us re-evaluate their significance and sense the human sentiment which is retained within these objects. I see these objects as being directly related to portraiture because even though there are no people depicted in the Memorial Painting, it is still very much a portrait of two people.

I wanted to develop this theme a little further. I’ve been collecting interesting objects from junk shops etc… which seem to have some poetic beauty within them, touched by some profound sentiment or relationship and damaged in some way asif it has lived a life and is almost organic but unfortunately just about ready for the bin. Then through whatever chanel they end up in my hands and take on a new life as a piece of art. I’ve used 3-D objects before in my portraiture, for example car doors and car wings which I have painted on and I like the play between 2-D and 3-D. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I wanted to develop it further and suddenly the idea came to me to use the actual object alongside the painting creating a diptych which is another reoccuring theme in my work, so it all seemed to fit beautifully. Very broardly my work is about objective reality, making paintings which are as real looking and convincing as I can possibly get them. So, I made an exact scale drawing of the object ,(The first is an old Pre WW1 Beatrix potter book and the secong is a 45 single by Elvis inscribed with “To my Darling Ron, Happy Valentines Day”). I did the drawing on the left and continued to do a 2-D still life painting of the object and then to the right of the painting is mounted the actual origional 3-D object. The painting is almost like a clone, or in this case, I refer to them as “Doppelgangers”. The 2 seem to feed off eachother, at first glance they seem strangely identical, juxtaposed together, but then your eyes seem to work out that one is flat and the other is 3-D. In some ways there is also a link with the old trickery of Trompe l’ oil, but that was never a concious thing, just a bi- product when I looked at the finished thing. It is always about the object and it’s relationship with the people who once owned it and responding to its imbued poetry and sentiment.

(Just click on the image to enlarge)

May 26th, 2008

A Recent article by Terry Grimley in The Birmingham Post -“American Honour for Walsall Artist”

Please click on the link to read:

Here is another interview from a magazine called “Varsity” which is produced by Cambridge university and I think was very nicely written.

May 26th, 2008


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