Thoughts on My Work: Themes & Ideas

25/01/2002
In my star/ text paintings I am encoding snippets, decontextualised segments of science-fiction and fantasy film quotations into paintings, into the fabric of the image. On the one hand, there is no division between text and image. On the other, everything is different.

In the step pieces I am interested in moving to another place, in taking the viewer to an impossible point in space and time via the imagination. These works revolve around the theme of verticality. What is [the origin of] verticality? Why are we so influenced by the z-axis?

In the Hidden City project (work in progress) I bring together my fascination with signs and the way we read them and the geography of the city, of urban space. It is a way of reclaiming the city for myself, or at least parts of the city: a place with bright places and dark, troublesome areas - of life and death.

In the work around borders and hazard tape I was interested in the rhetoric of demarcation. By marking a boundary, one enters into the acts of including and excluding. It is a decisive act.
Can I bring this to bear on my other work? A questioning of the rhetoric.

The twin points of Utopia and Dystopia have always been of interest. One is wildly optimistic, the other deeply pessimistic. As such, neither are viable alternatives; being extreme opposites, they end up becoming two parts of the same discourse, a discourse of anticipation/ expectation.

A more realistic alternative would involve an acknowledgement of the difficulties and potentialities for good and bad.

The step paintings and structures are a search for an alternative space high up, whilst the hidden city is an excavation into the imagination, but both involve a movement away from the space of reality.

Do they? The spaces of reality are always encoded within the 'fictive' space of the art, as it has to come from it, it has to be, ultimately part of it.

The 'disappearing text' images are about a play with language. But the presentation of that language becomes a visual one, entering into a non-linguistic set of relationships.

If the start paintings, hidden city and step works are about a verticality, an imagining of the alternatives to now, to here, then the text-based works and other installations are an engagement with the problems of here and now - e.g. the questions.

The here and now requires dissection, investigation and analysis, but the tools to use are humour, intuition and style (flair).