Weltlandschaft - Reimagining Landscape
My recent paintings try to re-imagine ideas of landscapes, a subject in painting which, for me seems important right now. These landscapes may also evoke bodily forms and histories of industries and patterns of energy. The idea of the ‘Weltlandschaft’ is central to the structures in the paintings, as the viewpoint is often bird-like, encompassing both height and distance, vast stretches of space and time, a landscape that points between something done here and forgotten there. Time in this sense can be deep geological time, or terrain bearing the scars of more recent interventions. Scale is important too, epic themes can collide with the trivial or commonplace but what is always implicated is how human activities have impacted on and interacted with the landscape.
My sources are drawn from memories, maps, art histories, cartoons and government information films. A mythic West Midlands (UK) is the setting, where I grew up, a land that often feels marginal and in-between, but was central to the industrial revolution of Britain. I draw from Ovid’s ‘Metamorphosis’ and Looney Tunes, from Breughel and Rubens to Orwell’s ‘Road to Wigan Pier’. But the making of the paintings are intuitive, each set of found concerns is worked out in the studio with a process of trial and error, as structures are tested as well as composed. For me, these landscapes suggest the instability of experienced events, an instability which seems to point to the future.