“A Better World”draws inspiration from science, mathematics, and philosophy, using and abusing both Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry to imagine a new cosmology. Science and religion tend to be seen as the antithesis of each other, but both attempt to do much the same thing - explain the world around us, both the visible and the invisible. While this series may appear visually different to my other work, there is still a thematic link – these works deal with the interplay of science and belief, inspired by visual models of scientific and mathematical equations and equating these with the shapes of human thinking and understanding, something beyond rationality.
The genesis of these paintings, so to speak, came about after the death of my father. My dad was a scientist and, in a strange sort of way, I had been using science as a way of coping with the loss, the law of conservation of energy in particular. One of the paintings in the ‘In Mourning’ series was directly inspired by this (‘Between the Tides, shown below) and this led me to thinking of a series that would map out a world and worldview using science and philosophy.
The series can be read as a kind of cyclical narrative, with ‘Giving Birth to the Future’ as a starting point – the Big Bang, in a sense.
The second painting in the series, ‘Emergent Structures’, was influenced by the idea of cities (as a symbol of civilization and humanity) being a self-replicating organism of sorts, with ‘At the Heart of it All’ and ‘The Intensity of Surfaces’ following along a related path – human exploration and manipulation of the physical environment.
The next painting, ‘In Plato’s Cave’, relates to human perception and how we mentally construct the world. The painting is quite literally a visualisation of the cave Plato postulated as an image of how we perceive the world – as shadows cast on the wall of a cave.
The final painting in the series, ‘Suspended in Light’, can be understood as the end point of this imagined universe, the ‘Big Crunch’ to the first paintings Big Bang, but not as a full-stop, but as a leading back to the first point in the narrative, where everything begins again.
In November 2017 the paintings were shown at the MASH Gastropub in Shenzhen, China. They remained on display for the whole month.
With ‘A Better World’ I wanted to combine this positive view of science as a worldview, with my take on the early use of geometry in art, from the Russian Constructivists for example, as an expression of utopianism and optimism. These are probably the most hopeful and optimistic paintings I've ever done, using science, geometry and philosophy as a model or blueprint for an idealised, utopian world...