My paintings are the end results of a process and dialogues between me, the painter and the painting. Sometimes this conversation is tender and light, joyful or passionate. Sometimes it’s furious. And, occasionally, a monologue says everything. Looking back, I admit, I often stage these conversations as though participating in some sort of debating club. A bit like the starter cable in a car to give the process an extra boost because I don’t have the time to wait for inspiration. Inspiration usually comes once the dialogue gets going. It is a messy and often chaotic process.
My role is to give this chaos form. To create a new piece of reality. Structures that start the debate might begin as Cut-outs / Collages and geometric architectures like ‘Eight Boxes’ or ‘Crosses’. At times, these structures remain visible in the final painting. Occasionally they completely disappear. Sometimes I work with these structures. At other times I work against them.
The image I create is always new, a different reality compared to any plan, intuition or intent I might hold. Every little mark I leave on the canvas is a new piece of reality. I can respond by extending the initial mark, correcting it, setting it in context or balancing it.
So, the dialogue is between me, the painter and the reality on canvas. And there is me, the observer and facilitator of this dialogue, who may call for a break, for a new perspective or a new approach. It is me, the facilitator, who calls the shots when it comes to say ‘we are done’, ‘no more’. Over the years I’ve ruined tons of paintings by not saying ‘enough’ at the right point in time and learned from it.
A core of structural elements common throughout my work are script-like forms, and squiggles that pace, crawl or leisurely wander over the surfaces.
These squiggles, represent the infinitesimal amount of information that passes us by, goes through us or bounces off us at any point in time. For me it’s like the vibration of a low hum, the music of the stars, the whisper of the gods or the white noise of the universe. I call them murmurs. At times, the murmurs take shape as words or as floral patterns.
As human beings we only take note of a tiny fraction of these murmurs. The capacity to register or even make sense of all the inputs we encounter is extremely limited. Our way to make sense of signals and information is to run them through filters in the brain.
We construct and/or adopt belief systems and behaviours over time that serve to inform who we think we are. Designed to help us survive and procreate, many of these filters compress wonder into words, numbers and formulae. In a reductionist process most, or all of the magic is lost.
Murmurs are the kinds of stuff shamans and alchemists thrive on. Often these people are described as loners or misfits. As social beings we hunger for relationships, interaction and exchange to make us feel safe. So, we will often sacrifice some, or all of the magical potential of the murmurs we can each access, to fit in with the cultural conventions of a community.
Of course, there are multiple ways of experiencing and playing with murmurs. Dancers, meditators, poets and musicians play with them all the time consciously or unconsciously. When in a state of flow, anyone can access their own, unique, form of murmurs. The results, the manifestation of this experience or dialogue will be different for each individual. It might take form as an invention for an engineer, a family meal for a parent, a business idea for an entrepreneur, or a new song for a composer. My dialogues manifest as paintings.