The fact that I’m sharing the progress of these paintings is an indication that I’m feeling pretty content with the progress. In the photograph it does all look very graphic, a quality that comes over a little less in the actual work. Inevitably the smaller scale works on paper progress at a higher tempo.
The last couple of months I’ve been gradually getting ready for two exhibitions. The first is a group show in the Dutch town of Nijmegen. The second is a solo exhibiton, in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the town that has been drawing all the attention the last few months for its Jheronimus Bosch exhibition.
The exhibition is going to give me the chance to dip back into work influenced by the very Dutch interiors made by Vermeer, that I was making when I first arrived in The Netherlands back in the nineties. This will be hung alongside more recent work that is more orientated towards the Dutch landscape and our relationship with this most manipulated of environments.
Without giving too much away, I can promise a place for both of the painintgs below.
Empty Room, Oil paint on canvas, 1993
Untitled, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 2016
Since early May this year I have been working on a large scale artwork for a research institute in the Dutch town of Nijmegen. I have never had the chance to work on such a large scale piece of work knowing that the location for it has already been decided. The finished work is close to four metres in width (over twelve feet if you prefer!).
The three panels are based directly on earlier completed paintings although the new versions gave the opportunity to refinement and further development in some areas.
Most of my paintings are essentially quite small. So the chance to work on such an expansive scale has been technically interesting although more so in the area of actually seeing how ideas that worked well on a more intimate scale would scale up. The the paintings show a stretch of bleak landscape that reaches across the panels in combination with bending geometry of the coloured walls. The graphic sharpness of the geometry has been increased from the smaller versions, heightening the tension of the edges of the walls where they meet the sky and where the birds appear to disappear ‘behind the sky.
The ‘ordering’ in the landscape isn’t quite what it would’at first seem. Is it actually a landscape that we are looking at? Or is it a sort of ‘décor’, scenery or film set? Is this the tranquil scene that it at first might appear to be? Where are the birds flying too?
I’ve been documenting the process of development over the last months in a series of photographs. I’ve been doing this mostly for myself, but the short film does give an interesting insight into how these paintings come together in a series of steps.