Landscape & Memory
Scottish scenery is world-renowned, and artists have long admired and highlighted the rich variety of colours, textures and moods to be found all across the nation. Of specific interest to me is how those qualities are retained and transformed by memory. We all have our favourite views in real life, but how we 'see' them is not how they appear in photographs or 'realistic' prints and paintings. The uniqueness of each scene to the viewer cannot be perfectly replicated, but it can be simulated and that is what these paintings are all about - trying to recapture the essence of special scenes by remembering the overall play of the light.
'There Can Be Only One'
These land and seascapes are unique objects. Highly glazed acrylic scenes are viewed though an accompanying transparent layer of 2mm polythene bearing complementary colours. This creates refraction, reflection, and makes the images three-dimensional. That is why they are genuinely unique and unforgeable - the effect cannot be replicated via printing, and combinations of background/transparent layer are unrepeatable.
Most of my Glasgow School of Art peers were figurative artists but I came to prefer abstract and minimalist work. I'm particularly drawn to those American Abstract Expressionists who, consciously or otherwise, imbued their work with Eastern philosophy.
Art as Politics
As a published author I'm used to expressing myself via fiction, academic work and polemic. Social media has broadened the potential arena for all manner of creative acts and political activity. I see all art as a part of that discourse: 'The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself, a political attitude.' (Orwell, 'Why I Write', 1946) Right now, in Scotland, all art has a political element, be it overt or not. Painting allows me to contribute to that discourse in a reflective, personal, quiet way.
Points Of View
Most common criticism I've had of my work is 'I can't see anything.'
Humans are so tiny that we have a very restricted view of the surface of the planet and everything we can see, no matter how big, eventually becomes a horizontal band along with all the others. The viewer may see a land-mass where others see the body of a breaking wave. I title my work reluctantly, preferring to allow the viewer to decide what s/he is 'seeing'. But that decision is for them to make, and requires an effort of memory and imagination.