July 20, 2012

Recent Prints

This page shows some of the printmaking work that I have made over the past few years. These are predominantly etchings although recently I have experimented with digital printmaking.

Citadel of the Ancients or Beckton Gas Works?

Citadel of the Ancients or Beckton Gas Works?

This work was started about 15 years ago and only completed this month (Jan 2016). It is a melancholic image of the old gas works at Beckton that I visited in the 1980s before it was replaced by a bland retail park. It is a strange landscape (it was used as a setting for Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Full Metal Jacket’) redolent with the romantic shadow of our industrial past. These places bring to life a sense of redundant power that I find quite compelling.


The mysteries of ironing

The Adventures of Superfluous Man: The Mysteries of Ironing

This etching is part of an occasional series of images I have been working on which considers the plight of ‘superfluous man’. I realised that this is a deeply rooted psychological phenomenon, probably related to our instincts as a hunter. Modern society seem ill-equipped to accommodate his heroic imagination, his energy need to test himself by ordeal. The images are unashamedly drawn from comic characters I remember as a child, a peculiarly British concoction whose daring-do captured my imagination.


 

Alternative lifestyles

The Alternatives who live at Number 14

This image is derived from a painting in the National Gallery in London by Agnolo di Cosimo, normally referred to as Il Bronzino. The painting is called “Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time” and it combines a strong feeling of eroticism disguised as a moral or allegorical tale. I was attracted to the subtle transgressive quality of the original and used it to illustrate the memory of a disturbingly dysfunctional family who lived in the street where I grew up (there were many in the street). The nomenclature here has obvious certain class connotations, bourgeoise families are to as referred to as “alternative”.


 

Retail Apocalypse Episode 1
Etching and Aquatint

I made this image as a spoof portrayal of what would happen if the ‘Sons of Adam’ took up permanent residence in Narnia. An apocalyptic endgame for CS Lewis!


 

The Tormentors
Etching and Aquatint

On a holiday to Florence I visited San Marco, a church, convent and Dominican friary. The complex was home to Girolamo Savonarola and Fra Angelico. I was inspired by Fra Angelico’s murals in each of the friar’s cells, especially the depiction of Christ’s tormentors, who are depicted as disembodied hands. My version is attempts to depict the nature of disembodied critics (media perhaps) as psychological torment.


 

High Street Graces
Etching and Aquatint

The High Street Graces dance around their handbags outside the George pub in Wanstead High Street, a regular scene.


 

Hermes explaining the Meaning of Life as a Blue Grass Melody
Etching and Aquatint

This image has a complicated story, it is in part a reference to the excesses of a culture of consumption, but it also brings in the character of Hermes, the messenger also regarded as the trickster or joker. Perhaps someone like an artist, one who bares witness. This is the closest I have come to making a self portrait as the figure playing the banjo is based on me. There is a post note in this image as the messenger is Rastafarian and plays the instrument that many would regard as the lyre of the white suprematist!


 

We all Fall with Icarus
Digital print

This image is a digital print, created entirely on the screen and as gone through countless stages before I settled on this image. It is, I suppose a reflection of the credit crunch of 2008 and the fact that everyone became victims of the collective hubris of the financial world.


 

Things Could Have been so Different
Digital Print

This is another digital print and is meant as a witty depiction of the vagaries of natural selection, but in technicolour!


 

Prometheus

It was always likely to end in tears
Etching and Aquatint

This image was made after I had read Richard Kearney’s book “The Wake of Imagination, Towards a Postmodern Culture”. In it he describes the depth of some of our cultural taboos and longings. The idea that human knowledge is somehow stolen fire or forbidden fruit has a long history and it forms the backdrop of many of our cultural anxieties. This character is a transgressive, tattooed man being attacked by an Eagle sent by the Titans. He also inhabits a landscape reminiscent of William Blake’s depiction of Isaac Newton, one of the founders of the Enlightenment.


 

The Beauty of Flying Debris
Digital Print

This was the first successful venture into digital printmaking and is a labyrinthine image which tries to bring together a feeling of a floating mass of debris and the sense of colourful abstraction. I think the title refers in part to an idea that if the world ended tomorrow then hopefully we might take comfort in being killed by a bespoke object!

Turning Point

Turning Point

I am interested in the point at which we lose control of circumstances. I very often use the print process to disrupt my own abilities to control the image, to utilise the resistance of the materials to add something other or unexpected. This print illustrates in some way the frantic making-do that occurs when situations run away from us. It is probably a precursor to the superfluous man series


 

Pillar of Salt

Saluting the Sunset

This is another of superfluous man giving a heroic gesture, Canute-Like to the forces of nature.


 

Grotto Wanstead Park

 

An etching of the Grotto in Wanstead Park.

 


 

 

This page shows some of the books that I have made. I like the idea of describing a narrative in a series of images and I have enjoyed the physical activity of making the book.

Leytonstone Capers

Leytonstone Capers

Opening page of the book

Opening page of the book

Leytonstone Capers detail

Leytonstone Capers detail

The book; “Leytonstone Capers” is a response to a scary episode that occurred one evening on my way home form the Royal Academy Schools Opening in 2012. I was travelling home with a friend and left the tube at Leytonstone to get some food from the local chip shop. It seems we were stalked as we left the chip shop as a masked assailant on a bike stopped us and produced a hand gun in the street. My friend reacted immediately, throwing his battered sausage and chips in the face of the man and we made a run for it. The assailant chased us and didn’t leave until I banged loudly on the door knocker of one of the houses in the street. I will forever remember the pickled onion bouncing of the masked man’s head!


A tribute to Velasquez painting: "The Boar Hunt"

A tribute to Velasquez painting: “The Boar Hunt”

This book was made in response to looking at Velasquez’s large painting of a Boar Hunt featuring the King of Spain. It is a subtle reversal of hierarchies as King Charles is reduced to a minor character whilst the great Spanish public are depicted in the foreground, going through their cultural machinations; drinking, playing cards, exercising their dogs and horses.  One character has scaled a tree to peer into the Queens carriage.

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