A little bit of politicsApril 14, 2012
When I started making art “seriously” again a couple of years ago (that is, working on something with some depth and coherence, rather than just making sketches) one of my focuses was the doom and gloom of news headlines, and the all pervasive news media. I had taken up the offer of a subscription to a national newspaper, thinking it might be interesting and educational to keep up to date with events deemed newsworthy. To cut a long story short I found myself getting quite depressed by the constant doom and gloom of the stories, the pre-occupation with disaster, paranoia and panic. It is easy to get into an apocalyptic frame of mind these days; with stories of fundamentalism, climate catastrophe, fuel crisis, economic meltdown etc. I had been thinking along these lines and developing a variety of ideas and images.
In some works I tried to relate these headlines and texts to my previous interests in illuminated manuscripts and their formal qualities.
In this example the T is from a well-known supermarket chain, there are doom-laden clouds in the background, and a symbolic tree (!) I don’t want to explain them too much, but allow the viewer have their own response to the juxtaposition of several elements. They are painted in watercolours, and some acrylic, on pages from old books.
I do intend some contrast between the bright and attractive colours and decoration and a critical and pessimistic message. I hope that the viewer is attracted at first to the colours and decoration, then gradually notices the text, and other elements within the image. There is a connection in this work to medieval apocalypses, which themselves are rendered with the same care and exquisite detail and decoration as a psalter, book of hours or gospel.