Part of the experience of being on a holiday away from the studio involves a lot of thinking about what will come next, so that’s what this post is about.
There are a few series I am still working on: ‘Heads’ will probably continue in much the same way as it has over the past (nearly) two decades. ‘Fictional Artefacts’ still has a few pieces planned before I’ll consider it done and there is still one more piece to go in the ‘Roots’ series.
I also have two other series in mind that will link to ‘Roots’, both involving an exploration of my past but attempting to do so in fairly ‘universal’ terms. The first will be ‘Mapping History’ and is something I had actually begun a few years back before the first piece was lost (it’s still out there somewhere, I just have to track it down) after I moved away from Thailand. The idea is to produce abstracted ‘maps’ of places I have lived in and that are important to, using the structure and iconography of Aboriginal dot paintings to remove the specificity out of the maps, encoding them somewhat.
The second will be called ‘In Bad Dreams’ and will be more cathartic. The plan is to create a small group of paintings using a similar format: a textured abstract field with a centralized form, roughly rectangular or square, similar to the ‘card’ shapes in the ‘Roots’ series. The central form will be an abstracted representation of some sort of negative experience – loss, depression, madness, violence, etc. This depiction could be a flat 2-D representation, or could utilize collage elements depending on what seems most appropriate. Again, the idea is to draw on personal experiences and try to make them into something of a ‘universal’ narrative – less autobiographical and more symbolist.
Two other ideas are more political in nature. The first involves a similar mapping idea, but applying it to sites of trauma – sites of massacre and genocide. This would be more messy than the ‘Mapping History’ idea, with looser application of paint, heavy textures and corrupted geometry, and would also involve the canvas being ripped and torn – making the wound and scar in our history a physical presence in the image. Most likely the series would be called ‘Traumatic Sites’ or ‘Wounds’ or something similar. If the ‘A Better World’ series was about Utopian ideas, this series would be its counterpoint.
The second idea is more of a ‘state of the world’ reflection called ‘Age of Iron. One piece has already been painted:
The series is planned as large scale and willfully dark, using ‘shamanic’, ‘prehistoric’ tropes and images, as well as heavy textures. I want to end with something that looms over the viewer and feels oppressive, as a reflection for both the current state of global affairs and the darkest parts of our history.
Besides these few ideas, there are other ideas brewing, but that are much less formed in my head. I’m hoping for a few more exhibition opportunities, both in Asia and Europe over the next year, with the good news being that there does seem to be some opportunities hovering on the horizon.