Circular

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Above, the whole painting as it is now – I think about halfway along, perhaps more.

I see it as being now fully a body, I see it as cultivated to a point where, if it were a biological entity, it could sustain the combined life-support functions normally carried out by separate organs such as the heart, lungs and other organs – it is alive – a homeostatic system is in action, exchange going on in all directions across semi-permeable living membranes through a balancing act of feedback systems. Within this scenario, the layered translucency arrived at using the oil paint properties comes into play, implying the vital permeability – and at this stage, the subject also begins to float – and recede, sink at the same time, depth being created and a sense of time passing both before and after so that the subject sits firmly in the instant – which is exactly where I find myself with it.

 

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Contained in Jonathan’s lecture on Methodology was a point of reference which has particular resonance with me; the cyclical, as it has its origin in the circular.  My current paintings are rooted in the circular gesture. Remembering also that reflection itself as both act and process involves the bending back of something – the circle in formation, along with all its numerous variations and derivatives.

In the circular something such as a line, is not only bent back, it returns to its origin, potentially on a different plane, giving rise to a spatial expansion as in a spiral.  By imaginative extension, I see that a circle, though flat, also suggests the three -dimensional, spheroidal form.

A circle is a continuum in terms of line and forming a circle is an act and process which does many things – it encircles, encompasses, encloses, unifies and so on. In a circular gesture, the entire world is made as a unified whole in a single bodily movement. In the cyclical gesture the same but over and over again – Ithe world is remade, regenerated. In the unbroken continuous line, the future is a matter of the continuous past. This is how I understand it – bodily, there is a direct physical relationship with the painting, much of which also holds for the viewer.

The oil medium I understand as an ancient material which points to the origin of art. In my own background one of the very first things I was taught to do was to make oil paint itself from oil and pigment, so oil pertains to my own origins as a painter. I am being true to myself in using it.  Oil is a traditional material in ways outside art too and even before we were here at all oil (lipid molecules) is necessary for life itself. The cell membrane has lipid molecules as part of its structure the formation of the living membrane was the first stage in the beginning of life eons ago. The oil I use, was once alive and contained in plant form this also maintains the continuous thread with the past, as well as supporting a life-death cycle of rebirth or reincarnation  – all these things congregate in my thoughts and become embodied by the painting. The material substance of the painting is then deeply anthropological. My thoughts and ideas are unbounded but I have to find a shape for them and the paintings are my chance to do so tangibly.

It is important to say why I have come to use a circular motif – circles are not uncommon in artworks. I arrived at the circular simply because I found it the easiest gesture to make – we have all done it as infants, it liberates the whole body, not just the hand, to be in direct connection with the medium – let’s say that in the act, because it is so easy there is no problem-solving or intellectual interface which has to be negotiated. The information coming through the easiest gesture is raw and at its richest in terms of that information which cannot be accessed in any other way – it is absolutely first-hand and filtered through my own self alone – nothing was knowingly understood second-hand, as far as it is possible to say so.

 

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