I am now the second Little Van Gogh artist to have been awarded this New Forest residency. Really looking forward to the opportunity!
‘As an artist, I see visual ‘reality’ – the external world – as only a part of our understanding and perception. We see in relation to ourselves, our past, and the events that shape us as individuals. If my paintings have an uncertain quality it is because I feel that the world within us and around us is in a constant state of flux and transformation. During my residency in the New Forest I hope to produce work that reflects aspects of the location and environment but I don’t envisage that it will be a direct visual replica of what I see’.
Exhibiting artists compete for the Cambridge Art Awards with a top prize of £500, runners-up awards of framing prizes kindly provided by Milton based HMC Framing and this year the Top Twenty chosen artists will go forward to a two week exhibition at the Babylon Gallery in Ely.
Interviewer Frankie Lowe of Cambridge TV discussing the new exhibition ‘Cambridge Envisaged’ with Peter Corr at the Michaelhouse Centre today. The interview can be seen on Thursday evening and also includes talks with artists Paul Janssens and Caroline Forward.
‘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.
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.