Powerlong Museum, Shanghai, China May 15th- June 19th 2023
The show comprises my most recent works, created with layers and disturbance in mind. The show’s name came to mind as everything I have done in the past few months has amounted to this. When creating a show of this magnitude, you eat, sleep and dream it, which amounts to everything.
The paintings which have been created on both primed and unprimed canvas portray different qualities. I wanted to experiment with this throughout the body of work. Some of the primed canvases were painted to be ‘dead flat’ whilst, for others, I would build up layers for more depth. This would be both in the physical world with impasto paint on the work and also in the visual world, creating a 3D depth. I would use different mediums for this effect.
The newer series of works is very much based on instinct. I will draw lines as quickly and instinctively as they come to me. This way, I am not overthinking about what is happening. This gives the painting a very immediate response for me. I will set out to use a colour palette. I find this will give the picture more structure and relation to want I want the final image to feel.
These paintings are also on primed canvas, which I have not used in a great deal of time. It is nice to return to the primed canvas after all these years, as the colour you can use as a whole in the painting is much bolder than on the unprimed canvas.
All paintings are an amalgamation of images in my head and characters I spent a long time with. They come out in different forms and different expressions. All of the time, I feel I am trying to make them more vacant-looking and void of any real emotion. I am not sure why I do this, but it makes them more innocent and friendly. This is what I like about them. The newer works have become more abstract as if the characters are imploding and eating themselves. As if they are infinitely folding into themselves.
The Mickey pieces that were explicitly made for the show are similar to the newer pieces I have been producing. Again, these were done very instinctively, trying to bend the character as much into my style. I want to change the character entirely but leave some remnants of Mickey in the painting. Make him move as much as I can on the spot and make him as vacant as possible.
The paintings on unprimed canvas come second nature to me. I start with these paintings on the floor, covering them with everything from oil, water, charcoal, oil paint, dye, acrylic paint, spray paint, and dirt. I then leave them to dry overnight and come into the studio in the morning for the canvas to ‘reveal’ itself to me. It is a painting that I have done, but the natural elements have behaved in such a way that I have no control over it; in essence, the elements have created a painting for me to work on.
From here, I use the background to build my lines and image. I will have multiple layers from bottom to top to give the illusion of depth. I will even be physical depth on some paintings with the impasto oil paint applied last. The unprimed paintings have a much more of an unfinished look which gives them a vintage feel to them. The characters on the raw canvas provide a feeling of the old meeting the new.