The excitement for me as an artist lies not in exploring the unknown but in how I can effectively organise a visual arrangement that reflects the atmosphere and intensity of an environment, evoking a precise moment of the day under specific light and conditions. I hope you enjoy the work

Feature of the week  20/01/2019

The Beckton Fox

Over the coming weeks I will be showing a selection of my most recent paintings, some of which will go on display in my forthcoming exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery, Bow, this week. The new works are dated 2019, but although they have been finalised very recently they have all been in the process of making for the last two years. In my mind their conception has been even longer, having lived in Forest Gate, Newham for eleven years now, it has only been the last year or two that I have became so familiar with the locality that I have considered it for subject material.

 

At my last show of painting at the Townhouse, Spitalfields, many of the works were dated, 2017, and I was taken aback at the opening when it was assumed by some people that all of those works had been conceived, sketched, created and finalised since the previous New Years Day. The show opened at the beginning of October. Placing a date upon a painting is for me a marker that denotes an arrival point although it allows no notion as to when the journey might have begun.

 

One of the hardest aspects of being a painter is knowing when to stop... when the painting might have arrived. Any serious painter will be aware of the fine line between arrival and pushing boundaries too far.. although one has to take risks. It is also an element easy to spot in others work, hard to countenance in one’s own practice. In this sense the oft-quoted phrase, ‘less equals more’ is something painters have known for a long time... even those who painted in the dark recesses of caves and caverns.

 

Over the past 6 months we have gathered together paintings from over 40 years of work for my recently published monograph and now, for this week’s opening exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery. It has been a joy to be reunited with some works I have not seen for over thirty years. Even more poignant is rediscovering paintings, the whereabouts of which I had no idea, such as Whitsunday, Commercial Road, featured on the flier and publicity material. With some pieces I had entirely forgotten or misplaced the year of their creation so was thankful they had been dated.

 

This painting is titled ‘The Beckton Fox’, and I see it as a slight departure from previous works of east London. It depicts an event driving home tired one winters night when we had to pull up fairly sharply, the creature happily survived. The structure we were entering is more contemporary than my usual subjects, it is a relatively recent addition to this part of town but it lends itself to the kind of theatre I was aiming to capture. It occurred to me whilst painting that no matter how functional or contrived, or artificial a the structure, nature will always find a way in... creeping in from the sidelines in this case. Another difference for me might be the brighter lighting that rebounds off of those reflective surfaces and the greater reliance on automation this subject depicts, where we humans become a kind of extension to it... even so it still can’t keep out that Fox!