The exhibition consists of over 60 small works in oil on board selected from 120 such pieces generated over the whole of 2015.
A very wide range of sources has been used to generate the images, including Old Masters and Victorian Sentimental images, Landscapes both scrutinized and imagined, Poets and Writers and Scientists and Philosophers scrutinized and imagined, War Histories, Science histories, Social histories, Objets Trouvés, animals including dogs and fish and the odd insect, cricket and cycling images and strange accidents and caprices that led to new ideas. As I read novels, histories, psychology, natural history, polemics and The Spectator, little fragments of the world around me settled like delightful moths on the surfaces of the paintings. Technical generators also played a role, particularly decalcomania and other wild printings and collages.
But common to all this bricoulage is the deliciously un-complicated process of simply picking up whatever came to mind, hand, ear or eye. Many artists, including myself, tend to get bedeviled with anxieties and blockages when confronted by a need to make work that is significant or resonant or relevant, but the best part of this life is not the degree to which an analyst might tease meaning from the oracular depths of one’s painting, but the sheer joy of making things that actually speak to a playful, creative and joyous facet of the human spirit. That is why there are some provocative titles to add to the often-tangential iconography. I want my viewer /reader to be a fellow traveller in the rambling journey through a visual and literary stream of consciousness.
And that is why I have chosen to call the group of paintings, Remote Associates. The title is taken from a psychometric test of that name and involves the presentation of groups of three apparently unrelated words. The solver must find the fourth, integrating word in each group.
Thus: opera hand dish (try it for yourself)*
When I encountered this test as a graduate student, I loved the way the process of decrypting the relationship was a metaphor for how I have always understood the business of generating images and ideas in painting - through admitting the absurd radical whenever possible. Yes, one may just wish to look at something and transcribe it in the medium and elements one desires, but often there is another dimension at work that lands some peculiar cuckoo children on your lap just as you might be imagining that you are making sensible choices. As I so often say to my students, “stop worrying about whether that choice makes any other sense than you want to make it; you are not accountable to anything but art.”
So, I leave my peculiar assembly of diverse, arcane, self-indulgent images to your pleasure or not. If you need an explanation for anything, just ask, but I can’t guarantee you a sensible answer!