Stepping stones

Invented a complicated metaphor about crossing a river on stones and being constantly distracted by what looks like a better way, though without a clear idea of my destination, apart from the basic crossing to the other side. What that means for the art is, I am hopping from one idea to another and not quite seeing any of them through, and the confusion in these sentences does reflect my state of mind somewhat.

I am currently working on some cardboard cutout figures, a set of small paintings with a view to a larger one (or more) soon as, and some twisty wire shapes supposed to become a standing sculpture. These all have different origins but related themes.

For the past couple of years I have been introducing more of my own history and emotional life into the paintings, following on from the Family Photos series. Recently, through reading, I have been remembering a lot about the Vietnam War, which together with the atmosphere of the Cold War was a blight on my young life for years. There are many resonant – and famous – images from that conflict easily retrievable on google. The first attempt to make a painting incorporating this material stalled halfway. I cut off the bits I didn’t like, and am happier with the partial painting. I then took a look at various types of war art – and hats off to the artists who manage to bring something all their own to the theme, though this most often comes of being actively engaged in the conflict. To address war visually without being trite, overly dramatic or too obvious is a serious challenge. And all along there is the question, do I have a right to this story, having been present at the time only in my head and through pictorial media – both vividly enough as it seemed to the younger me. I am posting two of the current paintings here, very different explorations, and I hope to solve those problems as I continue, because it’s important to me.Photo0132




2 thoughts on “Stepping stones

  1. Not ready to comment on the paintings yet but to your last question “do I have the right to this story?” I’d say those images and this story, and the anxiety they engendered, are a part of the mental furniture of anyone of our generation and you have as much right to draw on them as eg T.S. Eliot using echoes of fragments of poetry from Shakespeare and the Bible etc in his The Waste Land. I can’t lay hands on the exact quote but Eliot said something to the effect that a common culture was as much part of the poets raw material as nature had always been. So go for it!

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