The majority of my work tends to be abstract, but I do use (or possibly abuse) the human form in many of my pieces. This ongoing series 'Heads' is focused on the human head, abstracted and distorted, and I have been making these on and off over the past few years. These pieces almost all began life as abstract marks on a surface that, as they were worked, coalesced into forms that suggested faces or heads. They are all fairly small scale and are images I have been creating for over a decade now.
In some cases the suggestion of human form is quite vague, as in these examples, ‘Framed’, ‘Speaking With Knives’, and ‘Interior Landscape’. The three pieces below them were oils on canvas painted about 15 years ago and were heavily influenced by ‘tribal’ art as well as the work of artists like Auerbach, Picasso and Basquiat.
Many of the paintings include distortions of the human form, or hide it behind something, as in the following examples: ‘From Nothing’, ‘Nothing Special’, ‘Silent’, ‘Muted Sensation’, ‘They Keep Silence’ and ‘In Dreams’. These last two were inspired by the Post-Rock group Jambinai and T.S. Eliot respectively.
Other paintings feature a slightly more ‘realistic’ rendering of a human form, as in the examples below: ‘Preserving Beauty’, ‘Come Undone’, ‘At the Moment of Creation’ and ‘Emet’.
Many of the paintings, including some of those already shown, directly reference poems, songs or fiction. From left to right: ‘Ozymandias’ references the Shelley poem of the same name, with quotes from the poem weaving in and out of the layers of paint. ‘Film Ending’ was inspired by a poem of my own, with the text mostly buried under the paint, but raised up from the surface of the canvas. ‘Hands Down’ references a Larkin poem.
Several of the paintings also reference world events and politics, generally in a fairly angry way –from left to right, first row: ‘Gloaming’ (inspired partly by the US school shootings and referencing a Radiohead song), ‘Rise’ (also referencing a Radiohead song and related to resistance to oppression) and ‘When Truth is Uncertain’, which fairly blatantly riffs on Trump and his… loose association with facts and truth. The two paintings below that were painted while living in South Africa and are a straightforward depiction of violence and fear of violence.