dreams, the metaphysical or insanity, but does relate to sex, or perhaps more accurately reproduction. It is based on a sketch for which the starting point was to depict graphic copulation between two forms; specifically the top left centre where once again two forms threaten to collide, interact or penetrate (see “Box part 1”) the central sinewy form rears up
as the blocky form above apparently hinges open ready to receive it’s probing phallic.
or mechanical latch. There seems to be little movement, energy or will involved in the painting and forms with-in, merely a simple drifting into position. It is reproduction devoid of mammalian exertions. It is only the human consciousness with its anxiety and repression which makes the biological function of sex anything other than mechanical.
The relationship between two things/objects is important in many of my images, sometimes two objects or two prongs of a branch-like structure or compositionally two dominant areas of colour interacting. Two, of-course, being
the minimum requirement for an internal dialogue (as opposed to a dialogue between work and viewer) perhaps this is a product of my own internalisation, a result of the work existing in a studio rather than a gallery context. Formally the dialogue is superficially between the organic and the more technological or the designed and the evolved.
But many theoretical dialogues and debates follow a binary structure of the one thing apposing the other. It is a trap that is hard to avoid and perhaps is a result of the function of philosophies to boil things down to core beliefs/ out-looks. But it is not something that I feel is truly representative of life as experienced.
As noted in Andrew Brighton’s’ “British Artists Francis Bacon” Giles Deleuze distinctly defines figural painting in contrast to figurative illustration, (the sensation of a thing or person in contrast to the conscious knowledge and
construction of it) in reference to Bacons work. But as Brighton writes
“Deleuze offers a systematic distinction between painting as art
(the figural) and illustration (the figurative) by seeing Bacon’s work as
essentially painterly sensation. However, it asks us to ignore elements in
Bacon’s work that are dependent on figurative recognition, such as directional
force of a figures glance or the recognisable face of person. More broadly, it
denies the linear, which works with the recognition of things rather than the
optical sensation of the painterly. These are core characteristics of Bacon’s
paintings, which function by their non-resolution of illustration and painting
In their non-resolution Bacon’s paintings are an incitement to
interpretation. - … The operative word here is discussion, which implies an
exchange without conclusion. – Bacon’s images call for and refuse
Unlike in earlier work such as “Box Part 1” the forms here are not distinct in being organic or designed, rather they both exhibit characteristics of both, the top floating form may be more distinctly mechanical with its straight edges and the larger central form more animal/insect like but both have vegetative qualities as well as rock/stone attributes. The 3 forms have many
different source objects/images on which they are drawn many of which I have listed below and a proportion of which I only now recognise in hindsight. It should be stressed that none of the source objects were studied/observed from life
rather they’re half remembered, subconsciously recalled, ascribed through familiarity during the flow of the drawing that the painting is based up-on .
The Three Forms:
The top left form is fashioned to provide an opening or an orifice to receive the other form below. It is predominantly based on a hinge, combined with my childhood memory of the weapon used by the main character in a TV show called Brave Starr about a futuristic cowboy in space. (Although it was on a planet.) The work is only based on a distant memory, but
even though there were just 2 images of it that I could find using a Google search, the resemblance is more than I had expected.
I’m not sure what the link is other than a vague sci-fi one and that the form and function fitted, a gun would receive the finger of the user in a similar way to the sexual coupling of the forms in the painting. Perhaps ones
childhood is relevant, the only times one is truly free from the leash of libido are immediately post coital and when it is absent, either pre-pubescent before it is formed or in old age when its grip has loosened. The play of childhood is
a timeless space free of drive, desire, and objectives yet rife with the dialogues between eye object and space.
Reproduction, or rather the drive for it, is perhaps what I would call the ultimate enlightenment narrative, or linear narrative, the search and definition for a purpose based meaning; to reproduce. Which of coarse upon where
-in lies the conundrum, the objective of repeating the search for an objective; this can only be resolved via the negation of a purpose/ function through a shift in perspective toward a cyclical process based view, countering the linear one. i.e. the future is not more important than the now.
The other elements within the top floating form are bark/wood type elements and a hydraulic piston which has bleed down from various influences including some of the pipes and microphones with-in Francis Bacon’s
early work such as figure in landscape 1945 and then in his work of the late 70’s such as jet of water and sand dune. In Crispy Abortion the piston is repeated directly below emerging from the central form, this repetition is to
give a sense of the manufactured and mass produced.
The Central form is predominantly based on the tone-arm from a record player emerging from a tree trunk. But it begins to
resemble many other things, it becomes like a spinal cord, & stalactites, wires, stalks, stems and antenna emerge from the top right (the top of the tree trunk) which then become the antlers of a stags head, it’s eye formed by a knot in the
tree trunk, which the lower portion of which, resemble a computer mouse on end,
with its wires coming out of the base.
underneath and in-between the join of the spine and the trunk.
which has a similar spiny, spikey quality, I particularly liked the head and disconnected jaw, which I associated with a record player stylus.
This is a floating hip-bone type form not dissimilar from some of Georgia O’Keefe’s work. It also performs a similar
sexual function that is for the trunk of the central form to slot into, it also echoes the “looking through” screen type element as seen in “You can’t Hide from Your Bud” (2011) A tangle of wires and a plug type form hang down from it or perhaps
hold it up like the stem of a flower. A small floating triangle shape opposite on the left-hand side of the canvas is a related form which again may provide an orifice for the snaking head of the tone-arm
The central form emerges out of the dark blue, like a newly discovered deep ocean species. Towards the lower half of the canvas the blue becomes scumbled and paler resulting in less depth and providing ground for the forms to hover above. A gap in the blue reveals the grey and ochre beneath; the shape of which mirrors the smaller right hand “hip bone” form. The vertical ochre stripe is brighter in tone than the blue or grey and pushes forward in space which in turn pushes the left hand forms out toward the right.
In the bottom left corner the tip of the sinewy tone arm and lowest point of the central form meets at the join of the three colours, grey, blue, ochre. The overall style of the back-ground is loosely based on the spikey vertical strips of Clyfford Still’s abstract paintings. The overall post surreal sexualisation is somewhat reminiscent of the late 90’s work of John Greenwood, who I have always been a fan of and who disappeared, presumably ceasing to produce work, some-time in the early 2000’s.
Does the mechanical represent an enlightenment idea, politicised power structure of left and right? Does the organic vegetative quality represent a cybernetic idea of systems? Again, can one exist in terms of being meaningfully defined with-out the other? Or are the mechanical and the organic both embodiments of a systems model. Perhaps the work is a retreat into the fact that no matter what the human race does at least one day we will be gone only for what is left of our technologies and civilisation to be mulched down by whatever life has managed to out-survive us. Is the only power we can wield over
our leaders now, the knowledge of the weeds that will eventually consume their graves?
Title: Crispy Abortion, the title is derived from my favourite track at this time Crispy Bacon (1997) by Laurent Garnier. Obviously the substitution of the word abortion alludes to the sexual themes of the work. As bacon is the result of transforming the living into mere flesh/ protein, so too is an abortion. Perhaps in this case rather than the abortion of the off-spring
it is the abortion of the sexual act itself or at least the libido/desire, or at the very least the related anxiety, as embodied within the drifting forms depicted.
Mating leopard slugs
Twangle is a continuation of the tangled and fused stem and root like structures as depicted in “Wing Mirror” and the flower/ plant object in “Box (Part 1)”. The pale stem like structures interweave on the dark green and red background, they divide up the space forming several rectangular/ rhombus and other iregular shapes with-in the negative space. At the top of the canvas the stems resolve into an angular, almost beak like form on the right, and a flower head protruding from a more angular, regular, manufactured looking bud, on the left.
At the bottom of the composition is something resembling a shell, crossed with a root vegetable with elements of audio equipment- parts of head-phones or speakers integrated.
The irregular/ wonky rhombus piece perched just above and on-top of the shell piece perhaps most closely resembles parts of “Wing Mirror”. Whilst the flowering and angular ‘beak’ piece at the top once again references Gerald
Scarfe work for Pink Floyd as sighted in “Box (Part 1)” and Wayne Barlowe’s as in “Crispy Abortion”
The overall structure, composition and line of the stem which maps out and describes various shapes is an idea which comes from an old work depicting wires- describing and mapping out a space. Centre left the stem forms an “on-stand by”
symbol, which has appeared in my work before.
The result of the lines with-in the work mapping out shapes and space is that this work functions more as an abstract painting than previous works have, it doesn’t quite have the branching out and up, plant structure of “Wing Mirror”, nor the drifting airless quality of “In Dust We Trust” or Crispy Abortion”.
Whilst working on this painting, it became clear that this was a root system weaving and, feeling its way in the darkness, rather than a focussed directional striving for the light as seen in “You Can’t Hide From Your Bud”.
This piece very much exists in the darkness with a hint of light at the very top of the canvas, providing orientation which the flower stem reaches toward. As well as the light at the top there is also a significant glowing yellow circle
at bottom left, which the shell/ vegetable is connected to as would a piece of electrical equipment to a power source, or perhaps like an umbilical cord linked to a yolk sack; feeding it.
like zigzags of yellow, as well as white, red and blue lines connecting and interlinking different elements of the back-ground colours, this fibrous network also obviously suggests a connected network model as found in ideas surrounding
information technology, a cybernetic system, or matrix, which in turn bought to mind the ‘all over’ –ness, almost cellular quality of digital replication found in Fiona Rea’s mid 90’s work such as Untitled (T1000) 1996.
In an earlier half- finished, abandoned piece from 2005 I attempted to fuse these digital fabrication ideas with the facsimile/
production themes of Roy Lichtenstein’s work such as “Flowers” 1982 and “Yellow Brush Stroke” 1965 as well as Patrick Caulfield’s work.
abstraction found in representative depictions, and perhaps the dialogue between simplicity and complexity through process, between systems (or process) and specificity.
The title is taken from Twangle Frent a track from the 1994 album ‘Bluff limbo’ by mu-ziq (Mike Paradinas) and relates to the tangle of roots.