Reviewing Titles

labels are due soon (link to calendar concerning the Summer Show) so have been reviewing the titles for the paintings for the upcoming Summer show as given in this earlier post

Dates for the Summer Show are:

Thursday 11 July 18.00 – 21.00 – opening night

  • Friday 12 July 10.00 – 20.00
  • Saturday 13 July 11.00 – 16.30
  • Sunday 14 July 11.00 – 16.30
  • Monday 15 July 10.00 – 20.00
  • Tuesday 16 July 10.00 – 20.00
  • Wednesday 17 July 10.00 – 20.00

Thursday 18 July – take show down

Out of Pictopoiesis

it is incredible how a call to action such as the Summer show in thirteen weeks time really galvanises.

For me this is all the more the case for the contrast of approach this represents relative to my normal practice; the painting being a painstakingly slow, absorbing production, each large painting maybe taking several months.

The projection mapping workshop during the residency has triggered my interest in projection: the ephemerality of the visual is all the more striking when contrasted with the material physicality of the surface/object on which the projection alights. In this, I see a poetic realm and as such, I have been experimenting at home with our basic digital projector* and countless items collected over many years which now present themselves as potential props that can be adopted as integral with my artistic trajectory. Each item was acquired for a nominal amount of money because of something about that object that struck me. I have not so far taken the opportunity to point to exactly what it is that has attracted my attention because I have not been able to specify because in identifying one reason, many other reasons instantly flood into my mind, so the thinking has been problematic.

Now I see the chance to rediscover some of these objects as components in an installation or two adopting the digital tool. It suddenly struck me that what I have in mind is a poiesis, a making which depends on the digital, unlike pictopoiesis.

This extension of pictopoiesis I can call digitopoiesis, and googling the word it seems I have invented a new word; so digitopoiesis it is!

I have additionally made a series of assemblage sculptures which adopt these items as components and these assemblages may well find their place in the digitopoietic installations I have in mind. I shall do some mockups at home with a view to transferring them to the Summer show.

I think this creative production will sit well opposite the paintings. The idea of digitopoiesis has evolved in consideration of the timelines I have been making for the paintings and more lately drawings (as in Slow Circle); so everything ties up and is traceable right back to source and origin, which is in itself a pictopoietic principle.

*I recall that our digital projector was also obtained at a car boot sale some years ago.

Notes to self:

The first installation maquette for my own reference – the end result to be an extensive refinement of this setup; working title Black Dot (Pictodigitopoiesis):

components: black dot animation, items from my studio (including earlier works in painting and assemblage sculpture) and digital tools


A Return

This year’s residency just finished has been a very rich and intense experience. One opportunity I found particularly valuable was being shown how to make a projection mapping installation at South Kiosk Gallery in Peckham. We worked in groups and achieved a poetic end result which in turn made me think of my painting. This surprised me as I was in a very different context to the studio, an urban one amongst people.

The projection mapping took the form of a video contained in a circular bowl*. The video it contained was a layered affair of photographic images portraying Peckham in terms of different levels and modes of interaction with it. It also incorporated a series of portraits of Iris in that context. The whole had a shimmering aliveness about it, which was also commented on by others. It seemed akin in its way to my painting, like a return to a familiar homeland of feeling but surprisingly to me, within an external environment that was completely different to the studio here. The projection mapping is a way of shaping and containing a world.

The circular motif is one that I use so much myself and I was asked about this in my research discussion yesterday when I had to explain why the circular gesture. I did actually do a post on that topic some time ago. Reflecting on the portrait content and the composition of the projection mapping has brought back into the foreground of my thoughts the poem Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror by John Ashbery

The poem describes the coming into being of a historic painting by Parmigianino as being a relationship of the painting itself with the world. I would say that my painting too represents a/my relationship with the world in a palpable way such that sense of the world, otherwise impossible to really comprehend, can be made through it.

Most interestingly, John Ashbery’s first ambition was to be a painter from the age of 11 until he was 15 he took weekly classes at the Rochester (USA) art museum.

Ashbery’s poem is endowed with a richness of thinking that for me seems to correspond with the intensity of thought applicable when I am making a painting – thinking and doing it pictopoietically. My own non-objective painting portrays me in terms of my thinking about it as I do it. It is not a picture of my face or outward appearance. My thinking concerns my/our fundamental relationship with the world, as a body.  No one needs to see my face to know me, I am better known through my paintings as I have transferred myself into them. Surface appearance can actually mislead, after all. At my core reside existential questions concerning us all; how we came to be and why we exist at all.

Pictopoiesis is underpinned by the philosophical which basically enjoys thinking for the sake of it without needing answers. Thinking itself is free to all, that’s what I like about it. There is no consumerism that comes with thinking per se. Thought itself is a precious endless freedom that we can make of what we will. It has boundless potential. At the same time principles are in operation all around that are best understood through facts as obtained through scientific endeavour and these counterbalance the continuous musing mode of the philosophical. I try to put it all together in a painting, all these different modes of thought into an imaginal place of cohabitation. It would be impossible to do if I stuck to just one mode of consciousness and thought about things in an already-established fashion. That is why I go back to origin and work from out of that, as that unifies me with it all at source.

The consciousness of source or origin is mentioned in my research paper. Yesterday’s research discussion Skype chat brought this component out and I had to explain myself. The Slow Circle drawing exercise acts as a way of citing this traceability back to source – the line returns to where it began. It is all a weave of thought, a treatise perhaps. Leonardo da Vinci wrote a treatise on painting that still reads as well today even after all that has happened in art in the meantime. Some things are core to art and these things need to be rooted out each and every time.

Painting, a way of seeing, as in understanding the world

So, now I have a new thread of thought that connects poetry, painting, portrait, and the circle/ spheroid using the tool of projection mapping. I think I shall make this an important component of my project, as it uses the digital as tool, extending the painting significantly out of itself but still maintaining connection with origin.

I now need to design a piece which weaves together these elements artistically, and adjust my project proposal accordingly.

*A bowl has poetry residing naturally in its form; it has an interior and exterior space. A bowl is like a body, and we experience the world as a body, perhaps that is the best way to understand it after all.





A slow watch:


late 14c., name for the god of dreams in Ovid, son of Sleep, literally “the maker of shapes,” from Greek morphē “form, shape, figure,” especially “a fine figure, a beautiful form; beauty, fashion, outward appearance,” a word of uncertain etymology. Related: MorpheanMorphō was an epithet of Aphrodite at Sparta, literally “shapely.”



… Morpheus was one of the minor gods of Greek mythology, a very mysterious character who dwells in the shady Realm of Dreams, where he works sending the messages of the gods, and creating dreams.

A Poem

During the London residency, I receive online from far away a poem by Fernando Pessoa, reminding me of home and the painting back there waiting for me to return (source):

The Herdsman

I’m herdsman of a flock.
The sheep are my thoughts
And my thoughts are all sensations.
I think with my eyes and my ears
And my hands and feet
And nostrils and mouth.
To think a flower is to see and smell it.
To eat a fruit is to sense its savor.
And that is why, when I feel sad,
In a day of heat, because of so much joy
And lay me down in the grass to rest
And close my sun-warmed eyes,
I feel my whole body relaxed in reality
And know the whole truth and am happy.


Intensive research has had to be put into the procurement of a camera to replace the one which literally was run over by a lorry on the way down to the London residency. Tragic but true – our car is a Citroen Berlingo Multispace van-like car, which runs on lpg gas and as such is a little gem which we shall keep going indefinitely. The back just popped open on a roundabout at Newark and a DPD lorry decided that the most convenient thing to do was run over the bag which dropped out and which contained our camera along with other important items. We chased the lorry as the bag was caught up in his wheels – we could see it and then it just split open and the items were scattered across the very main road, with lorries overtaking. I sat on the car horn blaring out danger as Alexis had to try and retrieve the destroyed items. It was horrible. DPD didn’t want to help us out…of course, they didn’t but at least we tried appealing to their better nature.

Well, anyway, a camera is a very expensive item to have to replace and no insurance to call on in the circumstances.

The new painting is smaller than the usual size as I have just a pocket camera to photo it – my trusty one, the one that changed my life when I started to look at the paintings on screen some years ago. I think I have talked about that in my blog a while ago.

This painting, as with all is throwing up some new questions about itself. This is the nature of how I understand the relationship between us; it and myself. I resume work on it today, as it was left yesterday. I like it very much and as usual am in love with it as it is but I know it is not finished. Let’s see how it goes today. I have only myself for answers as to the way ahead, in this situation.

Note to self: I have been in this situation a thousand times and it is always like the first. I have to fully face up to the painting to be able to take it forward