The opening sequence of Sergio Leones film “Once Upon a Time in the West” epitomises the kind of tension and pace I want my paintings to have. It’s a long slow scene in which there is very little dialogue, and little happens. Leone builds an overwhelming sense of anticipation, often menace, through his indulgent focus on seemingly trivial events, such as the constant circling of a fly around the butt of a gun, or the flicker in a shaft of light.
My work explores the territory between ‘still life’ and ‘landscape’, between the intimate and the epic. I paint from the landscape of debris and clutter, organic material and small plastic animals that accumulate in my studio. Because of the random juxtapositions of objects, specific lighting conditions, and the process of long slow looking, the perception of scale is skewed and the spaces become ambiguous, evoking prehistoric wildernesses, wastelands, secret gardens and savannas.
I am interested in activating greys; exploring the elasticity within grey; animating colours within a relatively narrow chromatic range by means of their mutual interaction. For me the atmosphere in the painting is as dependent on this kind of optical tension, and on the manipulation of rhythmic structures, as it is on the illusory quality of the image itself.