Smoke and mirrors

Friday 20 July 2007

Why smoke and mirrors?

My particpation in the Art Trail has made me verbalise more on the creation of my work, the ideas and inspiration behind it. I am developing a personal philosophy of painting which embraces its capacity for artifice – the visual trickery of base materials to magically transport a viewer to another place in their own mind – but I am merely holding up a mirror to a world that is already around us. Last weekend, I was thrilled to have sold two large paintings along with some little collages. When I unhooked the paintings from their supports all became clear – from the back a very straightforward construction of timber and board – the illusion revealed.

Anyhow, as artists often do, patronage calls for a small celebration. In fact, I had laid on light refreshments but my visitors were perhaps too polite to accept my hospitality. As Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote:
for art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.
I wonder how many painters analyse their work with a drink in hand at the end of a long painting session, or open a bottle of wine when some important piece of work is selected or sold? For myself, the acknowledgement of a sale or success forms part of the act of closure on the work; an artwork departing for a new home creates the psychological (and physical!) space for new work to come into existence. So too, the private view would not be such a jolly and bustling affair without a glass or two to celebrate the unveiling of a new body of work in an exhibition.

However, I have to put on hold any celebrations as I am very near to completing around five new paintings in readiness for the final showdown this weekend.

One of my patrons commented how much they liked seeing my works suspended from curtain style rods rather than directly attached to the wall, which had me thinking back to some previous ideas regarding the physical space around work – ideas that are in perpetual incubation! Also, much of my recent works have coppery orange or deep red hues, the colours we associate with heat, action and possible danger. Today, I bought a lime green covered sketchbook and it made me think again about the psychological effects of colours. Perhaps it is time I ventured into an ecologically calm green period…