Redfern 1982   Further information                                                                     back




This exhibition marks a radical change in my thinking, my imagery and my painting process.
I did not want to become an "executant" as Picasso put it, but rather to explore the way that the world and specifically the visual world was changing and how this was to be reflected through my interest in and practical involvement with the problems associated with making a painting; I wanted to live my life through my work, through my teaching commitment and everything else that I involved myself with.
This important feeling was not detrimental to my continued interest in the world of ideas and the way in which ideas were given form and substance through the world of art.
There were a great number of influences that involved me at that time; the most important of which were the writings of Frances Yates, the historian, particularly her book, 'The Art of Memory" and her references to the Memory Theatre of Giulio Camillo  and 'The Theatre Memory System" of Robert Fludd. These appealed to me from a quasi-mathematical and a peculiarly rational poetic point of view; in the same way that I had been absorbed by the use of the Fibonacci series in 'The Flagellation' by Piero della Francesca.
I became interested in the idea of 'simultaneity' in relation to how my paintings might evolve. The world had become flooded with images with the advent of the electronic and digital age.
I was brought up on the principals of the "Arts and Crafts Movement" and the importance of composition in relation to how a painting was organised; I felt restricted by an aesthetic habit I had acquired and wanted to break away from, particularly as it did not seem to function at this time. The idea of 'simultaneity' came out of this visual world that I inhabited and appeared to be chaotic and arbitrary.
In respect of simultaneity and composition, one of the images that I used as source material was a Greek bas-relief sculpture of  'The Return of Hercules' the arrangement of which attempts to show that he is not recognised, except by his dog.
There was also much excitement and brouhaha about the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di that arbitrarily took place around this time, culminating in huge firework displays; reminiscent of the kaleidoscopic and fragmentary colour of digital imagery.
The primary poetic experience in such displays was often experienced daily when I had lunch in a cafe. The kaleidoscopic effect of the sunlight filtering through the branches and leaves of a tree outside this cafe seemed more than just a metaphor for the entire universe to me. I started a painting to see if it was possible to do anything with the subject when suddenly two punks turned up in the painting with no prior intention as if to remind me that we were in the height of the Punk era.
Similarly, the most significant influence on my thinking  occurred in Green Park when I was aggressively confronted by a middle-aged, respectable looking, woman who had used a sap green felt tipped pen to cover her face with crosshatching.
Nothing that I had ever made had ever had such a powerful effect as her image had on me: so the 'Lady in the Park' became an important subject for my painting. I started a small painting that I worked on for a month but could not do her justice. I began to paint her out when, without prior intention, I found myself adding part of a headdress from a classical Spanish sculpted head. The serendipity of this event and the subsequent nature of the piece, so unlike a work I would normally make, directed me onto the track that this show represents. The excessive headdress of this Spanish Head reflected the excesses of fashion that has always been of interest to me as representing the excesses and seeming pointlessness of human consciousness.