MAKING FOR THE COAST
Since I was a child, the coast has seemed somewhere just over the horizon:
I have always lived by, or not very far from the sea – and the urge to smell the ocean and to touch the water has been a strong natural impulse, shared by many.
Most of these ideas are inspired by my own experiences of the coast.
A few are based on memories which have been related by people close to me, which occurred in places that I know well.
One or two are about places that I have never been to – but my obsessive research has created a powerful, artificial relationship with them – which requires expression.
My recent work draws increasingly on personal memories – as images and motifs drawn from life, rub shoulders with the landscapes and creatures that are my customary subjects. Small details in the slip-work depict obscure items (such as a toy, word or sign) which have great meaning to me – but little to anyone else.
I hope these esoteric additions contribute a sense of mystery and I am happy to think that the viewer will make up their own story about them.
A few of the works even include human beings – very rare in my work.
I have used more Colour than previously as colour is such a strong factor in evoking memory. When I visualise a scene from the past it always has a strong colour-bias – which in turn provokes a memory of: smell; taste; or a sense of heat or cold.
This helps to create the required “atmosphere” in the work.
A love of Maps has provided inspiration of much of the slip-work design.
My own depictions are not accurate but are approximations of real maps or photographs of landscapes that I have sketched badly-on-purpose – and altered so that they fit into the space that I am working on. The important thing is that the resulting image is beautiful and striking – and gives a flavour of the reality.
In the same way that the OS uses symbols to show various landscape features and conditions, I have used stamps and repeat stencils to create pattern and to hint at the flora and structure of the terrain. Again, these are not necessarily to be believed.
Throughout the work – the theme of Creatures in Landscape is central.
Creatures animate the pieces, suggest conversations and enhance the compositions.
Sometimes they lend scale, sometimes their absurd size destroys that illusion.
Landscape without Creatures? …..Unthinkable.