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 11/10/2020
Grounded - City Airport
An airport is an unusual subject for me, as it is for any painter I suppose. It was the skyline that was the initial attraction, the aircraft looked impermanent and fragile against the monumental Tate & Lyle sugar refinery... an interpretation that turned out to be more prophetic than I realised at the time. The decision to start this small work was almost two years ago and as so often happens with my paintings… stuff happens. The world as we all know it, turned topsy-turvy in a big way.
As I worked to realise the image the depiction changed, with the aircraft dissolving into misty light. As we are aware, most are now grounded and the skies are still eerily empty… but the Tate & Lyle refinery goes on and on, continuing to issue its vapours skywards as it has done for many years past.
Along this part of the river the refinery remains one of the last vestiges of manufacturing industry still executing its original function. So many other industrial enterprises have disappeared from the area… how long I wonder, before a themed apartment block, hotel, or i offices ‘a la Battersea Power Station’ emerges. Situated between the former pools of the Royal Docks and the river, it performs the trick on some days of melting into its surroundings as if the sugary substances it extracts have escaped and spread over the immediate locality.
My partner Steve has told me about his father, who whilst working in the dock had the misfortune to be crushed beneath several tons of sugar cane. Having nearly lost his leg he had to endure 13 operations and a number of years unable to walk, before returning to the dock. I think it more than likely that the offending cargo would have been bound to this refinery. So, ‘Grounded’ seems an appropriate title in more ways than one.
These are associations that occur while a work is ‘on the go’, adding a different dimension and altering the ambiance of a painting. I’m lucky in that I am able to let a work slowly evolve and I’ve never been able to develop the initial layout quickly. The marathon and not the sprint seems to suit my practice in an age of uncertainty and transition.