Complex Pattern Abstracts Gallery

With many of my abstract paintings, I think what I am trying to achieve is a visually overwhelming effect. There is so much going on in the painting that it is virtually impossible to take it all in at once in any detail. What you get is an overall impression of the painting, whilst your eyes move from one detail to another. I don't want it just to be so busy that it is a mess; it should still all work together, but the more you look at it, the more your overall impression of it comes into focus. I hope that in this way, you can look at it again and again and have a new experience each time, but each time that experience is a true representation of the painting.

The surface of water is like this - you can't focus on any portion of it for more than a fraction of a second, but you get an overall impression of how the water looks and how it moves.


Remnants

Remnants
2015, 76x61cm

Global Man

Global Man
2015, 61x76cm

Performance of the Vision on Earth

Performance of the Vision on Earth
2015, 76x101cm, 450

In Black Elk Speaks, (being the life story of a holy man of the Oglala Sioux, as told through John G Neihardt) Black Elk explains how his power derives from visions he experienced on several occasions throughout his life. He says that in order to use his power, he has to 'perform' these visions on Earth for the people to see. He also says that when he has performed a vision, that power is in some way used up and he loses it.

Whilst I do not believe in the supernatural, or the literal power of visions, I see a parallel between this idea and my painting. When I have an idea for an abstract painting, it exists only as potential. There is great 'power' in this potential - something that could lead to any number of new images, new 'visions', new worlds. This power only has any meaning, however, once the idea is 'performed' - once I have used it to create a painting. Once I have done this, the new creation - the painting - exists for all to see, but the potential - that great power, is lost to me, and cannot be reused. Every painting feels like a part of me that I have given away.

Performance (Purple and Pink)

Performance (Purple and Pink)
2015, 76x101cm, 450

All at Once

All at Once
2010, 101x76cm, 450

Interlocking Figures

Interlocking Figures
2007, 101x76cm, 450

This painting was an improvisation - my starting point was the palette I had selected, and a style - I had initially intended the painting to be in a similar style to 'Wildlife' and 'Bird Man's Dream'. As the painting progressed, the style changed and the figures emerged. The grey background I completed before painting the first blue lines ended up being completely covered in the final picture, but I feel it was necessary for the progression of the painting.

I filmed myself painting this picture from start to finish, then speeded up the result to produce a 5 minute film. This film is available through YouTube.

Perpendicular Man

Perpendicular Man
2009, 76x101cm, 450

Little Green Men

Little Green Men
2009, 76x101cm

When I was getting my 2 year-old son up from a nap, he opened his eyes, sat up, looked at me and said "Little green men" - as far as I know, a phrase he had not heard before. I assumed that this is what he had been dreaming about, and I decided to paint a picture of it.

Although in modern times the idea that Earth has been visited by alien life has taken on less of a divine connotation and has become interwoven with the idea of government or military deception (born of the Cold-War) the idea has been present throughout human history, and one of the almost universal features of mythology is that of celestial visitors bringing civilisation to a primitive human race, or indeed the human race itself.

This gives us little evidence for the existence of alien life or its involvement in human history, yet it remains an interesting and powerful theme in our mental makeup. It stems, I believe, from two features of the human psyche. Firstly, our desire not to be alone and to be part of something larger than ourselves. This itself a combination of man's essentially social nature and the fact that much of a human's life is internal, more than any other creature, and this leaves us with an underlying solitude and loneliness to our outlook. Secondly, a veneration of (and eventually deification of) our ancient ancestors, seen especially in ancient times as the source of all the 'higher concepts' of man that amount to civilisation and our elevation above the animals.

Bearing this in mind, I do not think that the idea of alien visitation should be instinctively ridiculed as the adolescent fantasy of bumpkins, but rather understood for what it is - an indication of a common human desire and psychological trend.

My own personal inclination about the question of alien life is that it is likely that life exists on other planets, since it would be a fantastic coincidence if the probability of life occurring within the universe led to exactly one planet with life but no more. I am unsure about whether intelligent life exists on other planets, as I do not know if intelligence is such an efficient feature of life that evolution would produce it frequently. The idea that alien life has visited Earth within the span of human history seems unlikely. Given the size of the universe and the time required for intelligent life to evolve, intelligent life would have to be extremely frequently occurring for it to coincide spatially (close enough to visit) and temporally (evolving at the same time) with that on Earth. The idea that alien visitations have been hidden from the general populace by a misguided government seems even less likely. If an alien civilisation were sufficiently advanced to travel to Earth, it is unlikely that they would need 'local help' to cover up their existence if that was their desire. Furthermore, given our frantic desire to meet another race, I think that if an alien civilisation were to find us, they would be equally keen to meet us, and keeping themselves hidden would not be in their interests.

Buildings

Buildings
2007, 76x61cm, 365

At the Bazaar

At the Bazaar
2009, 76x101cm, 450

Within Wheels

Within Wheels
2010, 61x61cm, 285

Flux Totem

Flux Totem
2010, 76x76cm, 385