Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Telling Tales

I have finished the penultimate of a long series of enamel paintings. One more to go – a commission for a favorite collector, who has agreed that I can take my time on it – and then I will be done with the medium.
I wonder whether I am also done with traditional painting. Over the past year, I have worked with watercolour, pen, pencil and collage on paper but more and more, I find myself imagining beyond the single dimension of a flat white space: I keep thinking about large-scale, navigable installations, works that occupy a deal of floor-space and enable the viewer somehow to interact directly with a mixture of abstract ideas and remnants of actual experience – art as artefact and narrative.
Narrative is something of a dirty word in art these days. It implies a subjective art as opposed to the notion of an objective art, art that is, as Jeff Koons has described it, disconnected from the messy sprawl of self-expression. And yet just as I can't let go of a sneaking pride in the basic craftsmanship of my work, I can't turn my back on an almost primitive impulse to make works that tell stories, however obscure.

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