Arches are often associated with triumph, power and grandeur, commemorating a great event or in praise of a noble personage, supporting ideas of nationhood or commendable character traits.
However, arches are more commonly used to support structures, roofs, railways and roads – useful and utilitarian structures. The arches in my paintings incorporate the qualities of both aggrandisement and physical structural support, with a little something left to the imagination.
Valleys are often fertile places, the most sought-after areas for cultivation and settlement. We think of them as havens, lush and green, but they can also be dark, damp places permanently in shadow, rarely touched by light, or they can be ravines in the desert baked by the sun.
The valleys in my paintings are sometimes hot, sometimes cold, but always silent and serene.
Plateaus are elevated places, strongholds, but they can also represent the limits of performance or ambition. Physically, they can appear as safe places to be, where one can see what is both above and below, but they demand a decision when one leaves them – which way to go next.
The idea of the plateau, with the dilemma faced by the ‘occupant’, inspired me to create the abstract paintings in this series.
A felled log across a stream can provide a temporary bridge, while a feat of engineering in the form of a suspension bridge can make a bold statement of welcome across a dramatic ravine. Bridges connect people; they can lead to other places or be a destination in themselves, but most importantly, they must be securely anchored at each end.
I find that these anchored pillars create a tension at opposite ends of the span, and this tension forms the basis of my series of abstracts.
Although now cold, some craggy mountain structures were formed by volcanic action and were born from deep in the earth as white-hot lava flowed to the surface. Worn down thousands of years later into smaller rounded shapes by icy glaciers, the mount that remains is a pleasingly shaped structure – a mere shadow of its former self, yet still resisting its ultimate fate.
Mounts are the inspiration for an abstract series which suggests birth, metamorphosis, and present state.
It is difficult to pass a plate glass window without glancing at our own reflection, yet the reflection is not a true likeness but a mirror image. Windows often pick up reflections from surrounding windows, opening up the possibility of a ‘hall of mirrors’ effect.
I have taken the abstracted reflections from windows as a starting point and incorporated them into a series of paintings.
Sicily is both the past and the future. Its history of continual immigration, invasion and assimilation provides a portal onto the future, while its past is so complicated that it is difficult to separate fact from fiction.
The largest of the Mediterranean islands, and strategically placed for both trade and military purposes, Sicily has been ruled over the centuries by, amongst others, the Vandals, the Romans, the Normans, the Byzantines, the Spanish, the Hapsburgs and the Bourbons. It was finally brought under the control of a unified Italy in 1860, although – typically – it was granted special status as an autonomous region in 1946.
Mediterranean islands have layer upon layer of history that mingles with the present, and for an artist this provides fertile territory. Nowhere more so than in Sicily where evidence of its troubled past is all around. In my paintings, I was attempting to capture this sense of ‘otherness’ – of the outsider, fighting for survival and independence.
Looking at the shape, structure and texture of a variety of species in varying stages of growth and decay is fascinating, leaves are also a constant reminder of time and the seasons passing
Leaves is part of a group of works inspired by nature. While they provide life-long sources of interest, these subjects ultimately form the basis of my abstract paintings which are both hard-edged and yet fluid in appearance. Leaves looks at the shape, structure and texture of a variety of species in varying stages of growth and decay.