FRAGMENTS AND FIGMENTS

All of these paintings start life in a very abstract way, even the ones that appear more figurative, and there is no thought of narrative in my mind at that time. I am literally pushing and pulling oil paint around until something happens that pleases my personal aesthetic sense. 

This series is the complete reversal of the idea of 'illustration'. I rely on the accidents of collisions of paint, and the surprise exposures of scraping to reveal scenarios, either in the sense of the mood of the painting, or the figurative elements that sometimes emerge by chance from the soup of paint.

In turn, these chance manifestations evoke ideas of narrative. The paint writes the stories. I like to write small vignettes from imagined novels or short stories to enigmatic effect, always a fan of the short story, and presently involved in short form Japanese style poetry.

The texts are hung alongside the paintings in diptych form, in the hope that the juxtaposition with the painting leads the viewer to another imaginary place, or perhaps to encourage a narrative of their own.


#1.                   ....and by now he would be home, lurching through the trailer calling her name.

                       She pulled the car over by the bridge to watch dawn break over the Sierra.

                       Liquid gold slowly flooding the dull ochre plains. With the sharpening of the

                       landscape came a new clarity of thought. She would drive and keep driving.

                       If need be, all the way to Japan....





#2.                ....it was not looking good. The searchlight skimmed the surface of a boiling black ocean,

                   but found no sign of life. Just an oil slick and half submerged flotsam. Two red emergency

                   exit doors....




#3.                 ....at the end of the jetty they turned to face the shore. As night was falling, moonlight

                    froze the waterfall into a snapshot, at the lake's dark edge, the foaming surf became

                    lace. Like a photo, this image would always stay with them....




#4.                ....only one light came on. The theatre had been derelict for years, with dusty boxes of

                    costumes and a roll of packaging filling the stage. From the darkness, she heard the

                    sound of footsteps on creaking boards. Someone was whistling. A popular tune she had

                    loved from her misspent years at the Sorbonne....




#5.               ....it was already dark, and there was nothing else for it. He curled into a ball of blankets and sought

                    an escape in the realm of sleep....




#6.                ....it was extraordinary. The snow and ice had thawed everywhere exposing all kinds of

                     mysterious debris. Everywhere except for a single block of ice refusing to dissolve,

                     determined not to give up its internal secret....




#7.                 ....from the hotel window he watched the storm lift. The house on the hill became bathed

                     in a fresh shimmering light. He thought it looked like a religious painting....




#8.                 ....overcome with fatigue, she spread her frock over the bracken and lay down on the

                     riverbank. Her eyes slowly became accustomed to the dark, as they absorbed the

                     Milky Way that filled the blackest sky....




#9.                  ....the headlights had accustomed our eyes to the events of the Outback at night. The

                     occasional joey, the clouds of hawk moths, and then there he was. Just for a second,

                     a man by the side of the road. An old man....




                     

#10.                 ....and yes, it was true that Galahad was always the star, but as Geoffrey pulled his steed

                       to rest, the evening sun was illuminating the maroon and gold drape at its mane.

                        The sinking light still flashed across the steel protecting his heart...his brave and

                        loyal core....




#11.                 ....under cover of darkness, she wandered the streets of the old town. She passed a corner

                      with an old torn poster. Just another pompous deposed dictator. Even under the street

                       lights and with its angry mutilations, there was no doubt. The family resemblance was

                       unmistakable....




#12                ....the room was pitch black but for the glow of an aquarium, the silence broken only by the

                     sporadic gurgles of its aeration system. We knew at once that something was wrong.

                     Derek was many things, but no hobbyist....




#13.                ....they stood mesmerised. Their eyes took in wave after breaking wave, crashing onto the

                      beach of their once tranquil lagoon....




#14.               ....falling to earth, his linen suit billowed in the rush of air. This, he thought, was exactly

                      the sticky end that his mother had repeatedly predicted. Always the big I am....




#15.            ....now the sun was setting. His boat low and heavy with herring silently navigated the

                      ice flow as the bright colours of the fjord's lichens sickened to a muted blur, and he

                      thought of his Viking ancestors. He was still young, and like them, he needed to escape

                      all this awful beauty....




#16.            ....the wipers were struggling to keep pace with the deluge that threatened to shatter

                       the windscreen. For a second between strokes, just one thing became clear. Across

                       the beach in the darkness, something was burning. Someone had torched their

                       holiday bungalow....




#17.                  ....the darkened room was empty, but for a sofa and an oriental rug. A lingering warmth gave

                       the sense of someone just gone....




#18.               ....beneath a threatening sky, people of the camp had become blind to the ordered

                      beauty of the compound's Leylandii surround....




#19.                ....unless she was mistaken, and that was unlikely, for the first time in her life,

                      she was looking at the Aurora....




 

#20.           ....as the flames flicked tongues towards the edge of the precipice, the scrub

                       beyond the waterfall had never looked so attractive to him, the distant

                       parched desert so alluring....