Paintings exploring the idea of strength through softness
A New Collection for 2021
When an idea for a collection of works comes to mind, it is often born from something which has been floating around in my head for a while.
The yielding collection is no different - I have long held the feeling that the idea of strength as hardness, toughness, and solidness is wrong.
When I started thinking about this idea of softness I was working working on the pieces for the Abandon Collection. The way nature quietly waits and then reclaims probably sparked it.
I remembered a story about water. The story does not have much of a punchline but it's about how water will eventually wear away a mountain. This lead me to the Taoist philosophy.
"The softest thing overcomes the hardest" - Lao Tsu
Each painting in the collection has its own story, some come from my own history and some from universal narratives and old stories. You can read the individual stories by following the links in the images below
With this collection I have allowed the brushwork to come spontaneously, most a built of 2 or 3 layers of glazes, working into whilst wet but some are one layer. They are less complex in composition than some of my previous work but I think they have a power and clarity which I like.
They are a mixture of the 'strand' paintings which move across a dark ground, connecting unseen places (I think of these as rivers or DNA - information or energy flowing in space.) and also my 'landscapes' the more complete compositions, created environments and forms.
The bigger story
This idea of yielding fits in with my overarching interest in who we are and what it means to be Human. It feels as though we have spent lifetimes building walls, barriers, borders and containers to keep us separated from nature and from each other and indeed from our own selves. At some point we have to let go, and open ourselves to the world.
Someone asked me the other day what I most love about being an artist and it came to me that I most love stripping away the layers of misplaced beliefs and misconceptions, a process of opening to possibility and acknowledging the pain when it happens, getting a little braver but feeling less like I need to defend myself from the world and more like I can embrace it.
Where the light Gets In
This piece is inspired by a misremembered quote from Rumi - "The wound it the place where the Light enters" The phrase Where the Light gets In was in my head as I painted and I thought of how we are all wounded in some way.
Life is not perfect but how we respond to the wounds is what's important.
I like the idea that this piece is re-weaving itself, fragmented forms reconnecting to heal.
As I have said before - in all my work I want to leave a space in the painting and the story for people to connect, to add their own narrative to the piece and find meaning. I believe that art is a living thing, that it gives the viewer and the artist a portal to something outside of the known world. I hope that my paintings give you a place to let the light in.
Thank you for reading
If you are interested in any of the works listed in this post please get in touch via the studio email.