Landscape painting and Emblematic realism

I am a landscape artist in a tradition of landscape painting. I am not interested in the mimetic aspect of art, the world is a beautiful place, but I believe in something beyond representation. I try to evoke a sense of being in a landscape. The work also questions attitudes towards representation and how we frame reality. What is real? Is it psychological, personal historical, political, or geographical for example. Or, is it all of these or do some of them gain ascendancy at different times? My work contains conceptual elements, surreal elements, elements of magic realism and realism. It plays with scale and time confusing the symbolic with the biographical, the poetic with the empirical and indexical with imagined space.

Using this complex array of devices I try to make an art which is a truer equivalent of walking through a landscape. We not only see what is before us but carry with us memory history, prejudice and false memory. Because of this we constantly construct and reconstruct reality as we move through it.

I love the Marlborough Downs but was introduced to them through the work of the painter Paul Nash (British surrealist painter and war artist. 1889-1946) I’m not sure now whether I see the real Downs or Nash’s construction of them.

Memory is very important in my work. The landscapes are psychological landscapes. Different qualities of objects space and light denote different experiences. Submerged objects may denote buried distant feelings or events. Solid heavy objects denote presence, immutability and the everyday solidity of life. Floating lifted objects allude to the possibility of change or transformation. Reflections, shadows and mirages refer to an interest in illusions and evoke a sense of reality in flux, hinting at the possibility of visual and conceptual confusion.

I enjoy work, which is complex, which reveals itself slowly where the viewer can work at reading into and through layers of meaning if they want to. My installations, work on many levels because I believe in creating visual interest.

Emblematic realism
The use of everyday objects in current work is part of an approach called emblematic realism a term coined by the American art theorist Annette Michelson. Objects are taken from the real world and placed in juxtaposition with other objects in a new context thus providing new readings for the meanings for those objects. The meanings are not totally unrelated as in symbolism. The association is more than metaphor because part of the meaning is transferred from the original context. So the object is both itself and the signifier of associations or other ideas. This approach is visible in the work of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Cornelia Parker and Anya Gallacio. They are all working in a methodology using ready-mades which is directly descended from Marcel Duchamp.