Exhibited at BEEP : Wales International Painting Prize 2015 Elysium Gallery, Swansea
1, The Artist As Border Patroller [Lovespoonbill]
2, The Artist As Border Patroller [Mambo-gambo]
These two paintings are an exploration of emigration and dislocation, narrative and memory, aided by notebooks made during visits to close family and relatives who left South Wales to live in Namibia and South Africa thirty years ago.
They offer visceral relief in the guise of cognitive dissonance. Puns, shocks, broken taboos and humour are deployed in a deliberately unsettling way.
Visual elements are both intensely local and also remote and very exotic. Nature, a constant source of inspiration, is closely observed. Objects are selected with mischievous care while humans are often treated satirically; stereotypes of Wales are both embraced and challenged.
One thing transforms into another. Animals become puns and fables. Nostalgic fondness for Wales lurches between affection, comedy and confusion. The identifiable but unlikely absurd and provocative images are full of contradictions, readily unpacking the artist’s memory onto a canvass as if he’s been stopped at a very unusual customs border. Here any officers at the borders of memory are subversive, remarkably open-minded and positively clownish in the way they process material. These works have no problem allowing their subjects into remote and exotic yet strangely familiar locations, protecting and exposing, parodying and defending, lampooning and exalting the subject matter it chooses to portray.
An amended essay by David Greenslade: September 2014
oil on wood, 5 ‘ x 8 ‘ [Price on request]