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Puppeteer in the shadows - 2017/18 - Oil on card - 4' x 4'

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Puppeteer in the shadows is a painting of the view from a window, not literally or specifically, but the act/the idea of looking out of one.
That even though you are staring outwards into the world you are actually looking inwards.

~ Staring mindlessly out of the kitchen window - my childhood home - poplar leaves flickering.

Recently I experienced the same feeling in my own home, it was strange to find myself to be the same person still, especially as I'd spent
the previous 3 years wondering if I was.
Is the pupeteer the orchestrator of this performance of self examination we put on for ourselves? Or is it the unresolvable inescapable events
from one's life?

In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Charles Marlow has to go and see the doctor for a medical before he can travel, he arrives early
and only the clerk is there. Marlow asks the clerk why he hasn't gone to Africa himself and the clerk replies:
"no way as said Plato to his disciples."
I took this as an allusion to Plato's Allegory of the Cave, the shadows cast by the firelight falling on the wall of the cave, that there
is no point to travelling because you never really leave your own head.
(Actually I misremembered the passage and thought the doctor said it to Marlow, but the doctor only really wants to measure his head.)

Folded up - in black and white amongst the ruins - 2017 - Oil on card - 4' x 4'

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I was reading Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun (I initially thought that Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow would give me something for the painting
- given the work point I used: a large collage made from scraps of WWII photos - but it didn't give me the insight I wanted.)
The ideas I took from Book of the New Sun were Father Inire's mirrors - an octagonal enclosure that can translocate you to another world/parallel universe.
And that you question who is really telling the story. That is, who or what is telling the story in the painting? Like a board game we created in childhood the
rooms/scenes don't quite fit together.
The painting doesn't have a single narrative, there are a multitude, repeated variations - heightened by listening to Terry Riley's music as I was working.
There are a number of figures who could be at the centre of a narrative, or dreaming one up, there are others peering in.

What is folded up? Coherence, grand-plans, great leaders - on scraps of paper found in the aftermath of the destruction of civilisation. Book of the New Sun
possibly takes place far in the future on Earth where the historical record is fragmentary. Also the astonishing news that the DNA of Neanderthals and Denisovans
had been found in the mud of caves came as I was working on the painting.

An alternate title I considered was Dust Amongst the Ruins - inspired by the Navaho sand painting on display in the Horniman museum foyer, which can
only be displayed as a work of art because it is imperfect.

Somewhere in here Chaos dreams, its only paint - 2017 - Oil on cardboard - 11" x 12"

Untitled - 2017 - Oil on cardboard - 20" x 9"

Rattle of bones, times past, dancing in the fire light - Looking for somewhere to camp - 2017 - Oil on cardboard - 10" x 22"

Reading - 2017 - Oil on cardboard

Another go at the game - 2017 - Oil on cardboard - 51cm x 26cm

You dreamed it - 2017 - Oil on cardboard - 12" x 16½"

Untitled - 2017 - Oil on cardboard - 12" x 16½"

Pulling at the death mask - 2017 - Oil on card - 4' x 4'

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After reading Samuel Beckett's More Pricks than Kicks I wanted to put the mental space that reading this book engendered onto a painting.
Training montage: I read another two books by Beckett Malone Dies and Waiting for Godot.
Then went through a stack of magazines about WW2 looking for workpoints: grainy indistinct photographs, breakdown of physical stucture/society,
bombed streets collapse/blasted cities, labyrinth, different levels, a journey/at a shoreline/beginning ending.
Breakdown of language structure/physical structure and structure within the painting.
Entering a labyrinth.
Dead or alive: are the characters nearly dead or just entering the afterlife?
Possible worlds: where/what life would I have had if mum hadn't died.
On and off the page, fragments stuck to the painting...

In the end I think the painting actually refects the process of trying to conceive another child. And also the futility of seeking enlightenment through a child's eye.

Comet - 2017 - Oil on cardboard 18" x 9"

Untitled - 2017 - Oil on cardboard 12" x 11"

Hank's walk II - 2016/17 - Oil on cardboard 14" x 13"

Untitled - 2016 - Oil on cardboard - 8" x 12"

Untitled - 2016 - Oil on cardboard - 12" x 8"

Through the door into the game - 2013/16 - Oil on cardboard - 17" x 13½"

Out of the cave - 2016 - Oil on cardboard 9½" x 16½"

Watching shipwreck from crow's nest - 2015/16 - Oil on cardboard 9½" x 9½"

See more paintings...

All 4' x 4' paintings