Paintings & Illustrations
The works contained in this catalogue have been produced over the last two years but represent a culmination of all that has gone before. This process has been accelerated by a recent return visit to Australia and New Zealand.
Apart from the diverse beauty of the countries themselves, it also involved the rediscovery of their magnificent collections of ethnic art and the art of the Pacific region generally. Far from denying the range of “subjects” contained herein, the diversity of them is wholly intended. What’s common to them all is that they are fashioned by the same style together with a lifelong passion for colour and colour relationships.
I listen to music as I paint; I love the musical space as it breathes and floats. At times the equivalent can be rather like painting on the sky or painting on water, keeping company with Sibelius and Ligeti or inspired by the sublime music of Schubert.
I find places of pilgrimage and worship very powerful, no matter what the reason for their existence. Equally, Momento Mori has always fascinated painters. There are also references to churchyards: memorials where eventually the living tribute of flowers will die as well. Azrael – we will all meet her sooner or later. Of course death can be, and is, celebrated in the wonderful Festival of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico. A childhood passion for the work of Francisco Goya and a parallel fascination and horror with the Spanish inquisition has never left me. The plight of the victims reverberates throughout history, never more so than now. There are things that are also celebrated simply because they are what they are: prayer rugs and prayer flags; the great Pacific Ocean; fabulous tribal art; island landscapes; scorched earth (the seeming prerogative of a retreating army); and the Cerberus-like guardian figures from those wonderful Greek legends.
The current series of works by one of the UK’s leading colourists represents a new level of achievement for the artist. The success of these works lies in the cohesion achieved despite the artist’s wide range of interests and preoccupations. Subjects range from shrines and prayer flags to medieval illuminations, ethnic art to music and on to much darker, more equivocal images. The result is a display of variety, spontaneity and shifting light. Yet it’s overwhelmingly about one thing: colour. The progress of his work reads like a spiritual travelogue.'Eric Buesner writer and critic.