Context for figures
Representing without representation, the hidden subject appears as a manifestation of a type of person or phantom figure. There are groups, single figures and a series of heads.
As the image lacks true representation verging often on obliteration and complete abstraction through manipulated layers of paint, the more a sense of presence there seems to be. Typically the image engages outwards and with the heads that largely fill the canvas. This choice of orientation facilitates this sense.
The pictorial context of the subject has been an area that I have concentrated on in order to find structure and content that is complementary with the image.
Each painting requires a unique context and so the structure of the painting comes about during the course of the painting and is not premeditated. That context may be a simple foil echoing the shape of the image.
In the tradition of easel painting there is a separation between the image and the background it inhabits. I have worked from the simple flat backdrop to introducing playful elements which set up a kind of narrative across the picture formally establishing lyrical organic shapes across the canvas breaking down the concept of figure and ground where the spatial depth is shallow and the subject becomes more about the use of paint and the substance of colour.
Medieval religious painting is a subject I keep revisiting. Universal shapes such as the dome and cross with their symbolic and metaphoric content are a reference for colour, compositional structure and content.
More recently I have introduced hard edge structures. Panels in the shape of the cross and domes, overlap, hiding images whilst establishing tension between that of hard edge and organic form. These forms act as counterbalance to one another creating a spatial dynamic between image and ground. The latter can, as in the example become the focal point effectively altering the relationship where the ground overlaps the figure.
The choice and use of colour is key to the paintings overall substance and is the primary element in the overall decision in creating form.