Friday, 17 February 2012

Time, percussion, movement and light

Time moves onwards. Weeks seem to fly by and the long months I had to work on my show slip by quicker than I can comprehend. This has been a stretch of time that has been dotted with intense moments of painting, like bulging knots tied randomly in a long piece of string. In between those moments, I think and I plan and I prepare and I worry.

Those moments have stretched out now over seven weeks. Seven weeks spent working on my latest series, for Kevin Low and my joint exhibition in April at Union Gallery (regular readers will have noticed that I've mentioned it already). For all that the time has flown by, it has also been hard work and I can feel my momentum nearing its end. I have one painting currently on my board and three more that I plan to start. Reaching the end of these last four will be a relief, a break from the pressure that has been constantly on my mind since late November. It will not, however, be the end of my preparations for the show.

With six weeks to go, my vague internal estimate says it will take me almost approximately four weeks more weeks to finish all that I need do. Even though it is a very comfortable margin, I still hope to finish sooner because the sooner I finish, the sooner I can relax.

My recent move onto bigger panels has therefore been timed well. After over a month of working on panels of one square foot each, I was beginning to flag, finding the small space was becoming constrictive and so my desire to reach the end of this work was growing. Happily, the larger panels have rejuvenated me for my final push to the end.

As a consequence of both this increased area and energy, my latest paintings have become a good deal freer than the earlier, smaller ones. My marks are bolder and more expansive and, when the polyrhythmic percussive pandemonium of Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp or Sun Ra is filling my head, the world almost entirely slips away. Low winter sunlight is diffused into my studio through sheets of bubble wrap, taped over the windows to obscure the distractions of the outside world. In the light, with full ears and upon a paint-spattered pink bed sheet, I move and I paint and I lose myself in the work for a while. Nothing is better than this.

Soon those bulging knot moments of otherness will pass and my work will be hanging in Union Gallery. I hope the time keeps on speeding towards that moment, for I long to relax again, almost as much as I can't wait to see my finished work on the wall. Yet at the same time, those moments of loss of self, when I am simply existing in that almost sublime moment, are what I live for and I do not and never will want them to end.

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