I’m still flying high with happiness of the show. I haven’t yet got the link that John Lifton Zoline will send showing the buzz of the opening party, but I can at least, at this moment, pop in a few pics of when baby Ash came with Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman.
Last Thursday (12 May 2016) many friends, some I haven’t seen for years, came to the Camden Image Gallery, 174 Royal College Street, for the opening of my “Darkening Garden” exhibition. I was more happy than I can say. The gallery is beautiful. The works are well hung and there are several red dots. Tomorrow, Wednesday, late afternoon we take it down.
John Lifton-Zoline took over a hundred pictures for which I will send a link soon, but in the meantime I’ll drop in here just one image that I myself managed. It is of an old friend, John Urling Clark, and by chance it catches the lovely Elena Chimonas, managing director of the gallery, striding forward.
Some of the paintings to be hung in my show next May will be quite small. This one, “Inherent Gaze”, for instance, is only 640 mm by 538mm.
If you think in terms of inches that is only 25 inches tall.
The show “Darkening Garden” will have about 15 paintings and over 50 framed limited edition etchings at the Camden Image Gallery, 13-18 May 2016.
This painting, The Mysteries, has elements I can’t quite explain. It could be that I’m delving into the world of complex relationships revolving around the mannequin as used by artists. When is the image we look at a stand-in for a real person? That’s a tricky question. Certainly I very much enjoyed the exhibition last year at the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge: Silent Partners – Artist and Mannequin from Function to Fetish.
Several years ago I painted Bone Scan. Cheryl Morgan used it for one of her Salon Futura covers. Now I’ve taken from it, the skull imagery, and adjusted it to be just what I needed as the final accent in my latest painting: Bone Clocks. Incidentally the skull is that of a little shrew.
There are to be a number of new dark etchings. Here is one, “Ferryman”, 18 x 14 cm.
Today Alison Eldred has me featured on her home page. She is my new agent. “All Flesh is Grass” is the chosen painting. http://www.alisoneldred.com/
And maybe that might be the title for my next show? This will happen next year at the Camden Image Gallery, 174 Royal College Street, Camden, NW1 0SP on the Thursday, 12th of May 2016. But there will probably be many working titles before we come up with the right one. We have time in hand.
Another finished painting: McQueen Strut, 60 by 44 cm.
Another painting, finished and titled. It is called “All Flesh is Grass” and is 60 by 43 cms framed.
At last another painting, finished and titled.
It is called ” Fourth Sally” and is 1045 x 792 mm.
Here is another painting using Hieronymus Bosch. The same bird from “Parley”. The chaps in their starched dress shirt fronts, partly obscured by the bird, are Franz Schreker, Austrian opera composer, and Bertrand Russell, philosopher and political activist. Both images were taken from photos in 1911 before the horrors of the twentieth century World Wars came to change their lives: Schreker, because he was Jewish; Bertrand Russell, because he was imprisoned for being a pacifist. Note the CND symbol: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Bertrand Russell marched on the 18th of February, 1961, to protest to the Ministry of Defence. This is a small painting, 53 x 63 cm, framed.
Another painting using a green-man profile. It relates to “Voiced” 8 October, 2013. The strange profile in this case is laid across something from the Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch, late 15th century. And there’s also a letter “a” in two manifestations.
After the distractions of this very special August (friends from disparate parts of the globe came to London for the World Science Fiction con) I finally got back to the workshop and worked on – Coming through. The salient thing in this composition is the barbed wire. So it’s a variation on my war pictures. (plate size: 165 x 250 mm)
And it is also a reworking of an earlier plate. Actually I wish I had pulled a few prints because the enclosed is the only one in existence.
Here is the price list for my work to be shown at Loncon3, from Thursday, the 14th of August, to Sunday, the 16th of August. It’s mainly for the titles. (If you click on it for size, then to get back – go to return arrow upper left.)
Another painting finished: The Fire Next Time.
970 mm by 670 mm.
If you click on the thumbnail to get the large size, then, when leaving you have to go the upper left back arrow. It takes you to the beginning of the section. I really don’t know why WordPress saw fit to change when they had a good thing before: you could just click on the full picture and it would bring you back to where you were. But now you click on the picture and it just makes it larger. And larger. You tend to get angry and therefore leave the premises. Please don’t.
Ah, wait. You can just click outside the pic and it brings you back.
This painting had an earlier manifestation several years back. I started with thoughts of notation, musical modes. They haven’t survived through the various changes. In due course variations on the letter “a” came to reside in this painting. Also a Peruvian mummy cloth design, an Inuit shaman, and a young girl caught in this strangeness. What kind of world am I trying to occupy here? Is the child projecting all this stuff around her? The idea of projection is interesting. Building blocks of the psyche? Machine codes of the mind? We carve up our emotional experiences in ways that are just below our radar.
Here’s Punctuated Equilibrium. This painting has taken me a long, long time to finish. It bears a relationship to Quorem which also took a long time to finish, back in 2010. So I’ll include it at the bottom. (Some of the seemingly simple paintings take longer. Strange. I don’t know why.) Dimensions:
Punctuated Equilibrium is 1030 by 730 mm.
Quorem is 1045 by 792 mm
Punctuated Equilibrium is a theory in evolutionary biology. There is phyletic gradualism, which states that evolution generally occurs by a steady and gradual set of transformations. But in 1972 Niles Eldridge and Stephen Jay Gould published a paper developing the notion that gradual evolution was seldom seen in fossil records, and that actually, and more interestingly, there were in the records to be studied, a sort of “stasis” and then “sudden jumps”. Gould coined the phrase – punctuated equilibrium.
Some biologists have applied punctuated equilibrium to non-sexual species including the evolution of viruses.
And perhaps in a Science Fiction context, Punctuated Equilibrium might bring us to recall a certain moment in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is when the mysterious alien artefact, a black monolith, triggers prehistoric ape people to start making tools. The first tool was, of course, a weapon.
Today was a beautiful early spring day and so John and I went to Tate Britain. The portico was built in 1897 by Sidney R.J. Smith.
Smith also designed the dome inside. There is a joy in walking through the renovations underneath this dome: Rod Heyes and Caruso St John Architects have created a sensitive set of relationships.
Of course we wandered around doing our usual things, including going to the members’ room.
And we enjoyed the exhibition on ruins.
Wednesday afternoon, 5th of February, we noticed the queue outside the Electric Ballroom was huge. It went around the corner at Buck Street and into Kentish Town Road. I googled and figured it was Prince because he had done a “secret” gig there the night before. Then the rains came. I felt sorry for the people standing in the rain, some without umbrellas. But not for long. Next time I looked out there was a pretty display of appropriately – purple umbrellas. I guess the online property website, Zoopla, was alert to this.
My tree witch is screaming.
This etching borrows its title from Peter Viereck’s 1961 play/poem – The Tree Witch. She is a Dryad and has been captured and tortured by a collective contemporary man. This poem/play works for present day Britain where we have the nature of flooding completely misunderstood by the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, “the worst environment secretary Britain has ever suffered.” See George Monbiot’s brilliant article in the Guardian, 14 January 2014: Drowning in Money: The Pig-headed policies that make flooding inevitable.
Owen Paterson boasts that hill farmers on the least productive land “will now receive the same direct payment rate on their upland farmlands as their lowland counterparts.” The farmers will be paid, yes paid, to remove trees and scrubs that absorb much of the water falling from the hills. And they will no longer be given subsidies for further tree planting.
And this, with no reference to all the good work done by the British government for other countries. For decades Britain has been funding scientists throughout the world in the study of hydrology: helping other countries to protect their upland forests as a means for preventing communities downstream from being flooded away. And also helping them organise the engineering to return curves and bends into straightened, scoured rivers.
It’s so simply wrong, what the present British government is doing. Their philosophy seems to be that land exists only to support landowners. See the problem of grouse shooting estates with drained and burnt moors of the Peak District National Park. And, yes, the present government sees waterways as existing only to “get rid of water.”
It all makes you want to scream. Last word to the Dryad:
For his is the end of the world. In technicolor.
Someone used the phrase – a violin in a void. Yeah. I like that. Or – marching out of Eden. Whatever, this painting is not a barrel of laughs. It was started with the CND movement in mind and all the rest followed. Not forgetting, of course, the soldiers borrowed from Sargent’s famous painting, “The Gassed”. So here we are with the absolutely last version: