As the world emerges from another enforced lockdown, I find myself vaguely amused at the fact that nothing very much has changed in my day to day life. If anything I have been spending more time than ever working in my studio. Nothing like a worldwide pandemic to focus the mind.
Most artists spend a significant amount of time alone, in a semi-surreal dialogue with what they are working on. So when we were allowed out for our government sanction free time, I hear how the rest of the world has been dealing with the pandemic and the fear and isolation that it brings.
These paintings are a response to those feelings and emotions. They take into account several different aspects of life over the past few months. Most notably is the fear of the unknown, how loneliness leads to anxiety and depression, and the despair and vulnerability that people have been feeling. There has been genuine sorrow at not seeing friends and family. Secondly, I’ve been exploring the anger and mistrust that has been directed towards the powers that be and the empty promises and inept decisions that have been forced on people in a knee jerk reaction.
The figures are twisted, faces distorted and emotions crackle across the canvas. You can see and feel the tension in the pieces. Hair is represented in an almost barb wire-like fashion, or perhaps a smoldering, smoky fire about to burst out. Either way, everything is uncomfortable, nothing is at ease.
The faces are a cross between pain, terror and a certain sad realization that this is what life has become.
The backgrounds are violent, the colours mixing like a stormy sea, perhaps reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic sunset. Suggesting an underlying unrest.
It is a response to the uncertainty of a situation that we have never faced before and I feel it is the duty of artists to document the events as they unfold before us, as has been the case throughout history.
We may be facing uncertain times, but I hope that we can learn a lesson from this, understand a little more what is important and what is superficial.
And perhaps when we look back we will find that some good has come out of it. ~ Oliver Perry
Behind the mask
Death or dementia in a state sanctioned asylum.
Fear loathing and contagion.
Flirting with false gods.
Me myself and isolation
The diversity of pestilence.
The plague doctor