In this latest series of works created predominantly over the past two years, the selected oil paintings subjectively explore the human condition and status quo through figurative and landscape paintings influenced by the recent pandemic and social uncertainty. The work investigates these issues through diverse sources whether personally, vicariously, or via the media, commenting on contemporary culture and the impact it’s had both individualistically and societal. The paintings undergo various levels of distortion, simplification, or abstraction in response, moving fluidly between genres with intimate or impactful context inspired by images from the personal phone, newspaper articles, or the web.
Investigating the fragility of the human psyche and mental health in modern times, the paintings depict evocative portraits in a distant gaze or lost in their own thoughts within a void, captured using a limited and heightened pallet in order to convey direct emotion. There are paintings of passers-by and passengers, including both young and old subjects which are set in voyeuristic perspectives with implications of surveillance. They have elements of ambiguity from the obliteration of facial features and seemingly unfinished sections, dealing with themes such as identity whilst delving into the complexity of human development and behavior. From this, the work also focuses on history; portraying past images and how they transcend time and become relevant in the present.
A selection of the paintings captures vast vibrant landscapes which include fly-tipping, alongside dark and ghostly images of storms and lakes juxtaposed between portraits and damaged or abandoned items. The exhibition also includes everyday objects and furniture, reminding us of what the day ahead will consist of during lockdown, consequently generating new avenues of discovery through an oeuvre of diverse works and creating a network of paintings that come together as one project, furthermore dissecting the complexity of modern times and translating them through instinctive and direct brushwork.
The paintings have bold and visceral brushwork to capture the source material; using idiosyncratic handing of paint to establish a vital interplay between subject matter and form, becoming subjective in the process which generates melancholic imagery with pathos. Each painting was created within a single day and several were reworked many times, behind each portrait often lays another, buried beneath the thick application of paint in an effort to cover the past.