Nuages et tempêtes et rêves - journeys into abstraction


The anima in myth - representational landscapes


Mythic Rorschach Landscapes





Current Work
This new body of work ‘Unravelling Mythologies’ enters the conversation at the beginning of the Western narrative with the ongoing study of ancient mythology and an internal stretch to greater abstraction in my work. Drawn to the raw quality that cold wax produces I have combined this unruly medium with a minimal but distinct palette creating the desired effect of a dynamic, matt, starkness to maximize the tension between the eternal truths of archaic stories with new details rendered through a modern expressionistic idiom. With wax itself as my muse my work evolves more towards abstraction and so I follow an increasing desire to create works that from a distance are seen as strong, minimal blocks of colour, shape or tone with representational detail buried within that is only seen in close proximity.






1. Nuages et tempêtes et rêves - journeys into abstraction.

Apart from music there is nothing that feeds my vision more that great literature and the master poets. The year 2020 has been darker than any before it in my lifetime and especially for the future of far too many diverse and unique ecosystems and animals. It’s hard not to look into the abyss and think about our survival as one of Nature’s many experiments in the great push ever onward and Nature of course will out, but some days I do wonder if we deserve such leniency and it’s probably why to counterbalance the darkness I employed masses of hope imbued Alazarine Crimson in this series.




       


 

Detail section of ‘It is not down on any map, true places never are. - Moby Dick’ oil and cold wax on board








’Primavera’ oil and wax on board 140 x 100 cm, 2021







’study for fractal primavera’ oil and wax on cardboard, 40 x 30 cm, 2021







’Europa - the wanderess, bound by no boundaries, contained by no countries, tamed by no time, she is the force of nature’s course’ oil and wax on board 100 x 70 cm, 2020










‘I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity’ oil and wax on board 100 x 70 cm, 2020







detail section ‘I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity’ oil and wax on board, 2020







‘But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose’ preliminary study in ink and oil stick on artboard 100 x 30cm, 2021







2. The anima in myth - representational landscapes.


‘Leda & The Swan' oil and wax on board, 140 x 100 cm, diptych, 2019


The first completed work in this branch of ‘Unraveling Mythologies’ is ‘Leda & The Swan’. Inspired by the figurative work of Boris Mikhaïlov and  the study of Greek myths, narrative driven romantic landscapes followed with a predominantly female psyche at work whether it be human, animal, tree or force of colour.





‘study for Eve dans le jardin des rêves’ oil & wax on board, 100 cm x 140 cm, 2019





3. Mythic Rorschach Landscapes.



‘Rorschach landscape with Artemis & Apollo’ oil & wax on board, 100 cm x 140 cm, diptych, 2019

Apollo and Artemis as hunters inspired a cold, pared back landscape wherein a tiny hunter’s cabin is dominated by the two gods disguised as massive trees mirroring one another as in some surreal and impossible Rorschach landscape with a dark, muted Pthalo green sky. It was with some measure of disquiet I learned that Artemis and Apollo had the power to send plagues upon mortals. This mirrored motif is developing further into larger works and small works on copper plate.






‘Arbre Rorschach’ oil and wax on board, 100 x 140 cm, ditych, 2020







‘that low door in the wall’ oil and wax on board, 40 cm x 30 cm, ditych, 2021







‘Cheval Rorschach’ oil and wax on board, study for copper plate, 20 x 40 cm, 2020









‘Daphne’ oil on copper plate, 23 x 17 cm, 2021








‘La Republique’ 23 cm x 17 cm, oil on copper, 2020







‘Ptolemy’s Bulls’ 23 cm x 17 cm, oil on copper, 202







‘Botticelli’s flowers’ 15 cm x 15 cm, oil on copper, 2021









Experimental works and studies 2019 - 2021




‘Until death all is life - study for Don Quixote III’ oil on board 40 cm x 65 cm, 2020







‘Paris diptych 2020’ oil and wax on board, 2020









‘there is no folly of the beasts of the earth that is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men’ experimental study - oil and wax on glass, 65 x 50 cm, 2020







‘the ascension of all that is desired’ oil and wax on board, 100 cm x 140 cm, diptych, 2019









‘Black River, Umbria’ oil and wax on board, 140 x 100 cm, diptych, 2020









‘The Battle of Ten Kings with murmuration’ oil & wax on board, 100 cm x 140 cm, diptych, 2019








‘Printemps à Paris’ oil & wax on board 100cm x 140cm - 2020










Small works & experimental studies for Unravelling Mythologies in oil, wax, ink and gouache on board or archival paper - inspired by Rome (2017) and Paris (2018/19)




’Roma III’   oil & wax on board    21 cm x 30 cm - 2017








‘the ache is human’  oil & wax on archival paper  








‘La Grisette, Paris’ oil on board, 100 x 140 cm 2018











‘but if you close your eyes it almost feels as if nothing changed at all’  oil & wax on board, 40 cm x 30 cm - 2018








‘study for The Sacrafices for Sigurd’  oil & wax on board, 30cm x 40 cm  - 2017










‘study for the death of Lucretia‘ oil & wax on board 30 cm x 21 cm - 2017







‘The spirits of Notre Dame’ ink and chalk on paper, 2019.

The most arresting event of 2019 in this most beautiful of cities was the fire at Notre Dame. Eerily I was finishing a large painting of Notre Dame (below) just as the fire broke out on April 15th 2019 and I had to decide whether to race home or stay watching the rapid moving fire online in my studio. When I finally got home I dropped my bag and raced the 7 minutes to La Seine to join the enormous, silent crowd watching from every bridge and avenue, paying their respects and praying for her survival while the world watched with us late into the night. Who knew greater devastation was to eclipse that day with the Australian bushfires and now a pandemic. Just as the world rallied within hours to fund the restoration of one of the jewels of Paris, I hope we rally to make significant changes out of this very dramatic year to the benefit of all, for a better chapter in our human story.








‘Notre-Dame de Paris - finished at 16.00 hr, April 15th 2019, diptych, oil on board, 140 cm x 100 cm











‘study for ‘ Lightning - Piazza Navona’ oil & wax on archival paper - 2017











‘Juno - Rome’  oil & wax on archival paper  - 2017










‘You can have the universe if I may have Italy, chapter III’ oil & wax on board,   29cm x 21cm   - 2017









‘You can have the universe if I may have Italy, chapter II’ oil & wax on board,   29cm x 21cm   - 2017


















Quick Studies: small works on board, works on paper & landscape studies in oil and cold wax medium. The best advice I ever got as an artist is to turn up. With painting one must keeps one’s hand working to maintain and build fluency, even by simply drawing for even 10 minutes every day. Quick studies are a great way to get into the flow, to experiment, to discover the endless effects of cold wax which is still a new medium for me, and build on ideas for larger works. I usually set up half a dozen small art boards, choose 3 colours and off I go. Here are a selection of studies that are destined for large scale works or as stand alone small works to be mounted on board for exhibition.






























































































































































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