The human body as an intermediary between our inner experience of existing and the external world.
“The work, as they say, should speak for itself. However, words can offer at least some insight into the underlying ruminations and possible ‘world view’ of the person who made the work. Any sympathetic viewer will then bring something interesting and personal to the dialogue between artist and viewer. Indeed to complete the work with the layering of their own experience and to make it part of their own world.
The show’s title, In the Kingdom of Desire, refers to a land where the world of the imagination and culture reigns supreme. This can also be seen as a layering of history and place, and has been borrowed from a title for a recent ‘Peking Opera’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. This forms an historical and cultural layering through time and space which I am mindful of in my own work.
In the world of words the titles attached to individual paintings are identifiers yes but often when deemed appropriate aim to provide an emotional ‘key’ to the work or a personal/historical reference.
So, this show of recent work continues my ongoing preoccupation with the human body as an intermediary between our inner experience of existing and the external world. Our skin literally forms the outer limits of ourselves and the beginning of the ‘other’. The skin being the membrane between ourselves, the natural environment and our artifacts: our collective culture.
My primary contribution to the world of artifacts is in the traditional form of painting, sometimes more literally; in the form of sculpture. These are either representations of the body itself, depictions of sculptural ‘bodies’ or our outer protective skin, that is, clothing. To be specific the representation of clothing, when seen independently, can be interpreted as a de facto body, a shell or ghost of the missing wearer.
These forms are then overlain with and create a dialogue between various historical and cultural signifiers such as tattoos, fabric and ceramic designs. We wear them as markings of our visual cultural, metaphorically at least, much as a Leopard wears its skin as an intrinsic part of its own identity.
To borrow the term from Ellen Dissanayake, we have evolved into ‘Homo Aestheticus’. The idea that Art in all its forms is not a ‘tack on’ to our existence but has always been a critically nourishing and enabling element central to our emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical survival.” KL