Your works have been described as painterly, gestural and abstract. Can you tell us more about some of the common themes in your paintings?
Painterly, gestural and abstract, these things are tailor-made to bleed struggle, truth, and mistake. Which is why I begin when something goes wrong; all the work I've ever done and ever seen accelerates, kind of like an encyclopaedic impulse. One can only hope to bring something compatible back on the table. If it’s a figure, a leitmotif, a compositional protagonist, it’s going to be interchangeable, more useful than a lifelike depiction. It hooks architectural lineage, contained objects, circles, eyes and suns, superman pills; red, yellow and black lozenges. The kit, the repertoire, the floor, the canvas, the territory, the table, the still life. Live and breathe. A bodybuilder knows exactly what exercise he’ll do next to keep the body guessing.
There’s a reset button that needs to be pushed every year I think.
What’s your artistic background and can you tell us more about how painting runs in the family?
I grew up looking at post-war modernist abstraction and paintings on the wall by my grandfather from the 50’s and 60’s. If I close my eyes now I can literally see them in technicolour and fine details.
I’m third generation. Both my Father and Grandfather have set the bar.
Your solo show ‘White Chalk Lines’ this year at Anima Mundi was a great success, are there any works in particular that you were happy with more than others and how did you feel about the show overall?
Some of the most recent bigger paintings on the top floor were made by removing and carving through layers. The big marks are indelible, permanent. They work on the edge of flipping positive and negative space. There's an immediacy to them, like they are born straight out of the mud, but not dirty, just crystal clear. It's a process I've found that gives so much back when it works, like a good dream.
In regard to art and painting, what’s the most memorable piece of advice that has been given to you?
About a decade ago the painter George Blacklock came to the studio and said;
“decide what space you're going to use”.
He meant whether it be a flat plane, illusory depth, cropped like a window etc. I was going for a floating, flat picture plane, but was still caught up in the window, and it took years working my way out of that compositional struggle.
Interviewed by John Bingham