We always do something crazy at Glastonbury festival. A few years ago Wreckage myself and crew turned an old display pod on hydrologic legs into a preying mantis space ship vodka bar, that Lyle DogHead made a beautiful pair of wings for, which gently moved up and down.
This year was much more sensible, I painted a car planted into the mud with a giant baby doll planted on the top. I initially was going to paint a colour fade over the car, starting with dirty browns and greens, then moving through the colour range, painting the top of the car the colour of the sky.
Then Sam Hagerty placed an over sized childs doll on top which made me reconsider. Not convinced I had the right idea I visited the field in the dark of night to see how the absence of sunlight changed the vista. This car was right at the entrance to the field and I was painting alongside artists like Chu and Dotmasters so I had to do a good job or my face would be rubbed in the mud. Chu was theming his car around the contentious subject of fracking, which inspired me to paint something more than just pretty colours.
I decided to paint white over the majority of the colours I had already applied, leaving only the browns and greens at the base of the car. A symbol of nature and of earth, the white being a symbol of innocence and purity. The baby also a icon for innocence and purity placed on top of the car as if a sacrifice on an altar would be painted black as if dipped in oil. The oil runs down the car in big thick dripps symbolising the blood of the planet. The car as symbol of the state of our species development, sacrificing our future for the pleasures of today. The meaning of innocence behind the use of white become a statement of our nievity as we relentlessly poison our planet and condemn our children to an uncertain future.
This was a while ago, but a piece I am proud of having painted and indeed an exhibition I was proud to have been invited to be involved in was the Schoony boy soldier show. I have another cast waiting in the studio for me to paint – just need to set a month aside to complete it. One to watch out for in 2015!
In addition to the covers for the conduit junctions, I also salvaged the covers to the linear sections of conduit. Here I am experimenting with techniques of fading colour and with the positioning of the piece to the frame to effect the complementaries. This process explores the relationship between the piece and the frame as well as the relationship between the colouration of each frame and the negative space. The very controlled technique of grading the colour is contrasted in method and visual aesthetic with the addition of mixed paint being poured from the centre, allowing it to move freely, only controlling it enough to prevent it from running off the canvas. At every change in material or process the colour flips to its complementary, constantly jumping position on the colour wheel, the works are vibrant yet also calm and balanced.
I saved these conduit covers from the scrap metal pile when we were converting and old express dairy bottling depository into an art gallery for Frank Cohen and Nicolai Frahm. They were too nicely made to discard and perfect to be the substrate for a series of small paintings.
The conduit covers were once functional, the passing of time lead to their obsoletion, in contrast to the panel the paint had been sitting in liquid form full of blind potential, waiting for it’s make mark to be made. These paintings are all about the experience of these two completely unrelated materials when they unsuspectingly collided . The marks created are the result of the paint reacting with the metal with the minimum of control of those involved. Together the conduit, having served its intended purpose and the paint, now having lost its potential, both obsolete sit frozen, the moment when the liquid colour hit the hard metal surface, for the moment they are art.
The hard metal surface of the conduit is unchanged, however the paint animates the moment of impact and as it has dried in the expressive state when the two materials collided it visually preserves that moment of movement and velocity.
Many of the objects I paint on are found, usually items that are discarded and dumped on the street. I believe much of what we need is being thrown away and that it is not necessary to alway buy things from new. My parents were great skip scavengers and I am sure I inherited this nature of always being aware and inquisitive of piles of personal abandonment. Although in their day the rubbish that was discarded was of a far higher quality than it is today, despite this I often find objects of use or items lend themselves to the function of the art canvas. This series were painted on discarded shelving panels found in the rubbish in Kings Cross near my studio.