Here we have an inner- city style/subway art rendering of a barnscape...I remember first doing this and the blue underpainting was in desperate need of attention, an awkward start to a painting back in the UK could quite happily have been left in the studio for weeks but over here in the States and the regular meeting of Airy Hill Artists at the house where I live every Wednesday night forced me to act !.....so out came the stencil sheets and my aerosol spray paint....it needed a bit of an optimistic 'silver lining' and this is as near as I could get. The strange metallic surface and angular cubist forms along with the liberal use of media convey a sense of strength(armour,steel andmechanical parts) and conviction ( the work is 8x4feet and to maintain singularity and discipline with the application of line was aided by the media's immediacey). The image reminds me Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' and to date it is probably the most abstracted image of a barn I have produced.
The image above is of the last canvas (oils aprox.7x8 feet) from a series of three 'grand abstracts' that I produced in July 2006 before I got on the plane out here. It was originally a series of Wharfedale skies but in anticipation of coming to the U.S. I 'let the paint rip'......this has a wide range of references, there is order out of chaos ,symbols of religion, everyday consumer society, social dialogue and human emotion, ...I was wanting the work to be a fresh,contemporary celebration of the visual bombardment we are seeing in the media and on computer screens in the world of work. The application of colour and shape was intended to imitate basic computer graphics, and the overlay of patterns and form echo the work of Picasso , American Abstract Expressionists and contemporary German Expressionists.
There is a small section to the right in the work where you see a blue tight-rope walker skipping over an orange hurdle bar...this is self portrait at the time, the colours symbolize art teaching (tools of the trade!), and the balancing act and vulnerability symbolizing the change of life I was about to embark upon coming to the States as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher.
Above is a photograph I took of a local pig farm...as you can see from below , back in August on a scorching hot summers day the reflective qualities on the metal in direct sunlight and my own ignorance of what purpose the building was actually used for helped me produce an almost iconic image of American agriculure. This notion of transformation and exageration of the real has been a constant factor in my paintings, I enjoy the challenge of taking the everyday and revisiting it with a 'magical optimism'.
The lighting and melancholic ambience I have attempted to render the image in was intentional and a certain element of timelessness and isolation are captured in the this blue colourfield. The painting portrays a small section of an American agricultural landscape and attempts to present a monument , the worms-eye view I have used enhance this. Not knowing the content of something that on the outside appeared to be beautiful allowed my imagination to flourish..on reflection I like the idea that I have been tricked !
Below is a photograph I took during the fall on the Big RockTrail (a quiet sensory loop off the Horseshoe Trail near Mount Gretna) and the connection with this and the previous image is the recess of shadows and the bold linear shapes of the tree trunks and their distorted shadows as they fall across the rocks.
I have made a number of tree studies in the past in oil pastels and I now find that I have documented the fall through photography so much that I've exhausted my desire to paint them ...I was hoping that the drip paintings I moved onto in November would rekindle this but I'm still waiting.
When at art college I was heavily involved with still life studies and an artist I came across was Georgio Morandi and I'm sure that his small sensitive observations in a restricted colour range (pastel greys, terracotta and creams) of a selection of small-scale objects in various juxtapositions are influencing my paint handling of these barn yard compositions.