Paintings Standing Up…

Beetlebum, wood offcuts & acrylic, 2020

The continuing ‘lockdown’ is probably sending a lot of us a tad nutty…certainly I’m bouncing around the studio playing with all sorts.  This includes my growing collection of Paintings Standing Up that developed out of an earlier series TFTLR (Tales From The Lumber Room).  These scrappy little constructions have been littering the studio for several years and over the past week or two I’ve dusted some off, given them some TLC and given them titles.  So there’s now a ‘body’ of work (well seven or eight) to put up online.  The first and second are here now…

Stockade Boozing,wood offcuts & acrylic, 2020

Stop Making Sense

as David Byrne and Jonathan Demme once coined for one of the best live concert films ever made.  And I’m reaching a point with my Deadly Delicious series where it is becoming ever harder to concentrate on the task in hand.  It always happens when I can see the finishing line in sight.  The showing I’ve been working towards is coming up fast (just this week I was asked to write a short text for the wall) and for me it will be a conclusion to these paintings. In my head they have run out of juice and though I can (and have) thought of further ways and directions I might take them…I need to move on…in short to stop making sense and go to some other place.

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And this show that I’m looking forward to seeing tonight…has endorsed (in my thinking) an idea that I’ve been trialling in the studio for the past month or so alongside the viruses and scandinavian detectives that will be the Lakeside show.  For Louisa has been making very provisional and quite ‘clunky’ cardboard sculptures alongside her paintings for a while now…and I’m thinking if a recent Royal College student is willing to put it out there in that risky way why am I being reticent about it?

It also dawned on me that in the past I’ve been more than willing to push and pull the elasticity of ‘painting’ but of late (the past ten or fifteen years) I’ve been progressively tighter in the conception (and even often the execution) of the paintings I’ve been making.  So hence what I’m initially and provisionally calling ‘Tales From The Lumber Room’.  TFTLR also have two essential properties to help me ‘stop making sense’…they are random and cheap.  The former creates a chaotic and unstructured formal component, the latter encourages equally recklessness in handling and colour. The outcomes are therefore so wonderfully unpredictable.  Whether the results will be worthwhile who can say but it is very liberating to set out without a coherent and watertight plan.  The process is also beneficial to my dual personality as a Gemini…the clearing of all the offcuts of old timber in our cellar plays to my tidy Apollonian side whilst the carelessness of the creative process they are subjected to is definitely Dionysian!

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