Untitled. Acrylic on board. 28x13". 2022

What’s it all about? On structural work. 
Forgive the abrupt start to this piece; it's a section out of a larger article but more or less answers the above! 
There’s intentionality in how I approach my work, but this doesn’t produce ‘knowing’ in the sense that my paintings are always as I intend them to be. I believe I can only partially engineer the design and effects of my paintings. I can guide, but not heard; I can show, but not tell.
I see my paintings as triggers or launchpads, rather than clear discussions that distill a subject - although it’s possible they sometimes fall into that bracket. In terms of aesthetics and effect, I use structures and colours to produce a mental space, from which I hope viewers may introspect and explore emotion. If my work is about something, it is this introspective, reflective space we can access when viewing artwork. I think it’s valuable and I think abstract art is well disposed for it.
My work is not without identifiable connection to the world; naturally, my experience finds a way into what I do. But I usually discern the connection when I look back on what I’ve produced. I don’t actively include my experience in my work at the moment, although some of my previous paintings explored this approach. For example my 2021 series, In relation to moors, directly responded to the landscape of Bodmin Moor.
Today, I don’t have anything referential in my thinking, that should then transfer into the work. It’s more a process of experimentation and reflecting on the results. If something interesting emerges, I build on it. In this way, the ideas and paintings reverberate off each other.
Ultimately, I think there’s a limit to what an artist can control in terms of the effects of their work. Individuals viewing a painting will always bring their own associations and understanding to the table. That’s to say, there’s a way in which the reception of an artwork is quite dependent on its viewer and how open they are to it. Perhaps this is obvious but I think the significance is overlooked. So I try to draw attention to this, in a way emphasising interpretation and subjectivity. Life is an uncertain shade of grey rather than anything black and white, and my work meditates on that.
In the above regard, my paintings are a collection of questions, rather than statements: how does this make you feel? What does it bring to mind? Where did all this come from? I want viewers to think about personal involvement, I want my paintings to offer a space to explore self and reflect on instinct. Moreover, I believe the value of art comes from what a viewer puts into it. The painting is but information, potential. We unlock this potential through a process characterised by openness and perhaps, vulnerability.
Alas, in today’s art-scape, there are numerous theories and ideas on how art works, what it does. And mine are just another example, a position in a labyrinth of possible positions. Because of this, having ideas about painting is both liberating and troubling. On one hand there’s immense freedom and on other, great difficulty. Contemporary theorists have talked of the situation as if we can observe endless ‘fragments’ of ideas, but the implication of fragmentation is a whole. But what of this whole? Seemingly, these fragments do not come from something total. We are hard pressed to piece them together and form a theory, which we might call art as we know it now.
Is it no longer possible to define art with its primary theories; was it ever even reasonable to do so? These are the questions I ask myself. The situation instead looks to be one of permanent unfolding. Every idea feels like a magic box that opens to reveal another and again another, inside another - and so on. I can only unravel my situation, an endless ball of yarn.
No doubt, I would love to talk of abstract art as being disposed to exploring emotion. I feel like it is and many artists before me have felt this way. And there is a great deal of research that somewhat supports this. But art is easily made compatible with itself.
For every article that seeks to differentiate a theoretical position, another closes the gap. Every idea, but a pathway in a colossal labyrinth, in turn revealing a grand uncertainty - futility, even. However there is a distinction: a labyrinth implies a destination - out or the centre, let’s say. With art theory, the situation is instead translucent. This maze seems without a heart and or a way out: we are residents of this place.
But perhaps that is rather bleak!
Another, more optimistic way I look at it, is that artists live in a state of eternal theoretical construction. It’s as if we exist on a distant, planetary colony of Earth, where a large structure is being built. It was started many years before our arrival, and at its current stage, is so large that there is no distance one may step back to observe its overall form. We do not know what we are building, and it often looks like each of us work on entirely separate projects - the sheer size, impossible to fathom.
But somehow it feels as if it is of some relation to the rest - even if we have no exact theory to talk of this relation. And so we sit around campfires at night, imagining what it could be. We continue to contribute, under an enticing impression, brilliant and addictive, without knowing what it really is or will become. Each artist, a brick in a larger temple of ideas, unfolding into space on a lonely planet somewhere in the universe. There’s profound poetic beauty in that. Enough for me to keep going with it!

Untitled. Acrylic on canvas. 20x16". 2022

Note: This was written just before a new development of expressive, larger form work. The ideas are more or less the same, but with some subtle differences. I'll write on these at a later date. 
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