Doggerel and Dogged
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The work shown at Hammelehle und Ahrens in Germany was a show of transition – from physical and geographic, to those painterly and cultural. I had traded living in London for Hastings. And with that move I left behind the closeted artificial light of the urban setting for the sun, sea and sky of England’s nearest reaches to the continent. Light and space were the subjects of those paintings. In order to approach those areas of exploration in the work, one has to embrace other transitions and developments in the paintings. The still life is still the practical sphere. I had let go a higher art historical frame in leaving behind painting art postcards of old and contemporary masters. The viewer now fulfils that high art contextual role as we look into the emotive eyes of soft toys such as 'Teddy', 'Bad Girl' or 'Heroic Poodle'. The postcard paintings function as a means of figuring out the way the space of a painting can flourish as a painterly subject in itself. That investigation has then been animated and set free. Re-contextualized and elevated as paintings, the ornamental aspect of the model is exchanged for an uncanny anthropomorphic quality in their expression and eyes. Making these paintings is part of a project to return these glazed plaster, painted porcelain, and stuffed toys to their rightful, cultural context. Bambi, after all, was native to and originally lost and so too found, in a European wood. This is already bringing perhaps too much theory to bare on these paintings which ask only that we view them with two eyes and one heart – a heart even that might have left behind in some other time and place and culture, but can still sense a direction that leads to home.
Galerie Hammelehle und Ahrens, pp.22
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