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  29/03/2020

Mountain of Fire and Miracles

I first saw this building in Dagenham last summer on the way to visit Steve’s mother, who was at the time in Queens Hospital, Romford. I was struck by its composure and monumentality, despite being surrounded by a plethora of bins and scarred by graffiti. It was a Sunday afternoon and not a soul in sight. Steve told me that during the sixties and early seventies, it had been a bowling alley that had been built opposite the formidable Ford Motor Works. I was struck by the building’s quiet dignity despite the weathered chaos that had assaulted it and I wanted to convey something of this.

 

The combination of monumental abstract elements along with a certain narrative aspect was to me rather appropriate given we were on our way to visit a family member in hospital at the time, and I was reminded of when I saw an exhibition of paintings by Piet Mondrian in my early twenties. I was struck by the pure intensity induced by the placement of such simple elements. Viewed as illustrations in books, his work had never interested me but seen in actuality they were less immaculate than they had at first appeared.

 

Ironically, I was contacted recently by a follower who asked if I had ever painted Barking or Dagenham, the patch of London where he grew up. I sent him an image of Mountain of Fire and Miracles as a work in progress and I was delighted to be informed that he had spent time there when the building used for the activity of bowling.

 

Mountain of Fire is a painting I began six months ago. It’s not quite finished but as work on it has progressed, the image seems to me to have become more poignant. Steve’s mother, who is 91, recovered due to the great care provided by the NHS and is now happily isolated in her own home.