Monday, 10 March 2014

Autobiography and Identity

I am conscious of the fact that I tend to see the negative side of things in my work, the black side, so I tried to remedy this by thinking about the wonderful and live changing experience of giving birth.

As a concept it has other meanings as it is the coming into being of life itself.  Where does the spark of life come from, what is it to be a person and have individuality, what future prospects are already intrinsic in a child's DNA or genetic make-up?  What are the potentialities, the proclivities in that foetus, all the ramifications of "nature and nurture", the questions of lineage and inherited traits, the idea of a future life as an adult and the joys and pitfalls of that specific life?  The ideas are vast and range from the big bang theory which created the universe where there are star nurseries to infinity where it is possible to imagine everything from ideas to aliens.

In order to try to capture just a small part of this wonderful and exciting prospect is what I have set out to achieve.  Yet the black side persists just a little and is represented in the words: "Rock-a-bye baby on a tree top", we all know how the cradle eventually falls, and this infers possible less pleasant prospects in the life of this original and unique form.

At the time of producing this piece I had recently been to the Paul Klee exhibition at Tate Modern.  When reading the catalogue I came across what I considered to be a remarkably apt and poetic quotation which I had to include in the painting, as it was so moving:

"What true artist would not like to live there, where the central organ of all time-space agitation, call it brain or heart of creation, as you will, is the source of all functions?  In the womb of nature, at the source of creation, where the secret key to all lies guarded?

In this way I have tried to include text that is relevant to the painting that enhances it without necessarily describing it.  It gives more meaning and is thought provoking in a way that I hope the image is too.  It was nice for me personally, to get away from collage as such which I find a bit limiting in scope, but that is due to my own inability to think creatively enough about it.


I did not produce a sketch for this for the reasons I have cited in the past, i.e. in robs me of sponteneity.  However, I did develop the idea using various images on the pc and produced images in Fireworks.  At one time I was going to include electrical pylons, as transmitters of communication, a sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, roots of trees indicating lineage and so on, some of which I have generated from Fireworks, some are sketches and some are photographs. I think what eventually decided me to produce the above was because it gave me the chance to include some positive colour, rather than greys and blacks. I have used acrylic colour as a basis for the work and have high-lighted and modified various areas with the use of oil pastel.


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