I am an artist living and working in Northumberland. I attended Newcastle University under the professorship of the painter Norman Adams. Some twenty years ago I was a finalist in the Observer Art Prize and was exhibited both at the Mall Galleries (London) and in Paris. Since then up until this point I have been essentially reclusive, concentrating on my art alone.
Concerning the work itself I have a sense that for me it is only through an extreme subjectivity that I may approach an objective, more universal commentary on the human condition. Therefore I have used my own body and facial expressions to explore the ‘self’ as internal narrative, through gesture and movement conveying urgency of mood, aspiration and despair in a series of ‘disclosures’, periods of significant ‘rites of passage’, in order to mark identity visually. The tension created through narcissism and vanity as oppose to a deeper insight (for each figure was done from life – many, many hours of looking in a mirror) interested me.
If there seems to be little variation in a ‘literal’ sense, for the subject is mostly myself. I believe there is variety in the expression of each character, of the effect of juxtaposition of gesture and movement, - a world in fact of various characterization and disclosure – no figure is repeated – they all express a unique nuance of mood and awareness (this at least was the challenge). I speak more primarily about the series of fourteen large canvases entitles ‘As It Is’, completed over a ten year period. A major theme also of this series is that of bereavement (the loss of my parents) and the ‘paradox’ of contraction and simultaneous expansions of self-identity as a result of loss.
The same theme of using the self to convey a more universal condition is present in the paintings all done in oil from life, each might take a year to complete (on Dutch Linen). The photo / collages use the drawings but develop the ideas and create distortions to the point of abstractions in order to further extend my themes of ‘selfhood’ and inner narrative. It will be seen here that I have used two other subjects (Rev. Gledhill and Jane) whose identity I have explored in not dissimilar ways over the years.
For the past five years I have used the figure in the landscape, exploring the sense of acceptance and exclusion, of restorative value and yet loneliness upon the human subject in a very secluded landscape – to convey through bodily gesture and mood the relationship between myself and place: to use the body to convey its effect, not literally but through metaphor and contrivance of posture and real space within the landscape. For this reason I am now living in a very remote high moorland, part of Northumberland which suits my purposes.