Learning to live with myself.
No outside interference.
I become one with my surroundings and the sounds of silence.
Time is mine.
More in tune with myself.
Bubbles of insight emerge from my being.
A profound unconscious sense of self and calm.
Frees my hands and mind.
Charcoal and pencils.
Paint and colours applied without constraints.
The music has started.
The dance followed.
In this time of Covid-19, and the forced isolation that it brings, I have had plenty of time to consider the meaning of my life and the important role that art continues to play in it.
Why do I paint? Why have I spent so many decades so committed to this practice? Is it enough to put this down to enjoyment or is there something deeper, almost spiritual and mystic about applying one’s inner most emotions, feelings and thoughts to create an artwork? And why have I remained true to ‘abstract’ rather than ‘ﬁgurative’ art throughout?
In my quest to find answers to these questions I am drawn to spirituality, meditation and the practices of traditional South African healers,
who throw bones to read messages from the ancestors. The physical objects are thrown and allowed to land of their own accord. The ultimate position is unplanned and left to chance and the universe.
I apply materials to the canvas and paper in a similar way, without planning. For me the excitement and joy lies in seeing how the colours and shapes manifest themselves as ambiguous, enigmatic forms and not a recognisable image. Mystery is signiﬁcant in life, religion, the unknown and the undecipherable. Intangible things that trigger the imagination, shapes that have the presence and not the lineaments of objects.
I work from my intuition, almost in a state of meditation, in order to ﬁnd ways to contact the subconscious, so as to reach the collective unconscious. This allows me to search for something larger and more meaningful than myself. Mine is more a non-ﬁgurative nor descriptive or illustrative image, rather an analogy of the incomprehensible, the transcendent. Paint is freed from the dictates of the narrative that the painting is an object. An exploration of playfulness within a discipline.
Chance and hazard are an important part in the process, pouring paint, making marks on the surface allows the painting to paint itself, until reaching the realisation that no more is needed and the painting is ' ﬁnished " this being an experience that goes beyond verbal explanation, an intuitive response to the work.
I would compare this to the surprise and gratiﬁcation that a composer must feel when he ﬁnally hears the symphony that he has composed and has lain within his mind until that point that it is materialised in full.
If according to a quote by Malevich the canvas is a window or mirror to the self whatever falls on that window is a self-portrait. Mythologically it is a metaphor for what would be all the emotions, all the visions, unconscious parts of the artist going so far as to say that it could be stuﬀ from the memory bank from past and future lives . imagination ﬂowing . the dance of life.