The Karl Theodor Bridge, commonly known as the Old Bridge, is a stone bridge in Heidelberg, crossing the Neckar River. It connects the Old City with the eastern part of the Neuenheim district of the city on the opposite bank.
‘Mercurial’ is a painting I have just completed for the ‘Cambridge Envisaged’ Exhibition; the composition, structure and style closely follows the other images in the series. I have retained the square format, recurring geometric shapes and warm tonality seen in previous works. The influence of American abstract expressionism is visible in the flatness and absence of overt representation; at the same time I have tried to convey a sense of the architectural qualities of the city of Cambridge. The painting is designed as a bridge between two different vantage points, an aerial or plan view of buildings, rivers and parks and a vertical ‘stacking’ of these interconnected and interchangeable motifs. The Cubists kaleidoscopic rendering of physical objects and space has liberated us all to see the world through our own eyes and intuition.
‘Mercurial’ Close up detail
The entrance to Ely Cathedral
Visitors to the Cathedral usually enter through the great West Door in the Galilee Porch. The term ‘Galilee’ simply means a porch or entrance. The Porch is built of Barnock stone & Purbeck marble from Dorset and is an example of Early English Gothic architecture.
Highly regarded by historians and architects from all over the world for its beauty and size, Ely Cathedral is the only UK building to be listed as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages”. Visible for miles around, the Cathedral is often referred to as “The Ship of the Fens”.
I thought I would tell you something about my working process. My studio is a partially converted garage; I used to work alongside bikes, washing machines, lawnmowers and assorted gardening equipment but since I started to work on a larger scale, this became increasingly problematic. I was also receiving too many complaints about the paint marks on the ‘white goods’. Every painter needs space!
The inspiration for this series – based on the city of Cambridge – came from my many visits to the town. As a photographer, I must have taken literally hundreds of photographs of the streets and college buildings and I believe I know the city extremely well. I have always admired the paintings of German artist Anselm Kiefer and I am aware that he often begins many of his large scale pieces by working over photographs. I began each of these paintings by working over small monochrome prints, using them as a sort of visual trigger or catalyst. I also included a range of collage elements to generate compositional possibilities and ideas. The fact that none of the original photographs are visible in the final painting is immaterial; they played the important role of ‘icebreaker’ and opened the way for new avenues to be explored.
This fascinating ‘gravity defying’ sculpture by Anthony Gormley is located in one of the streets at the centre of Eton College. Wonderful though it certainly is, I just wonder how many sculptures by successful international artists are placed in more prosaic, less privileged environments. If you know of any, please let me know, I really am interested. We could start a balanced collection.
You have to lie flat on your back to get this shot….or have a very fancy tripod…I chose to be flat on my back….not the most comfortable position! 🙂
The timber octagon that sits on the tower of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity at Ely is one of the greatest engineering feats of the Middle Ages. Completed in 1334, it weighs around 400 tons.
River City (provisional)
100 x 100 x 3cm acrylic and oil paint on canvas
‘River City’ is just a holding name at the moment. I know approximately what I want to say, but haven’t quite found the combination of words that will shed some light on the painting. I know that for some artists, titles for paintings are not necessarily important; some artists even decide to number their work sequentially, particularly with abstract paintings.
For me, a title can add certain qualities to an image, they often act as a bridge between the artist and the viewer. Interestingly, a random title generator is available free to use (see link below) which can be a lot of fun if you want to create something entirely meaningless and bizarre. I don’t think ‘Secret Ode to Lonely St George’ quite has it………..I’ll keep working on it and let you know how it goes.
You can see this painting at the Michaelhouse Centre in Cambridge from November 7th – 19th
Detail from ‘River City’
This painting is part of my ‘Cambridge Envisaged’ series. It is a mixed media, abstract work based on the city of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Cambridge is a world renowned university city and the recurring motifs of Gothic arches and ancient doorways provide a visual rhythm, reflecting both the passing of time and continuity. The textures and patina of well worn stone respond to sight and touch. At this time of year, shafts of diffused golden light illuminate walkways, paths and enclosed architectural spaces as you wander through the colleges and grounds. The river Cam flows through and across the city, below the ornate towers and spires, carrying new life and old memories.
‘Optical Mantra’ Canvas size: 80x80x2cm