I guess the whole ‘birds on branches’ thing in decorative and fine art is partly derived from the chinoiserie style, which often featured exotic birds in trees, but it seems to have filtered down to everything from cushions to wallpapers. I’ve also got a bit of a fetish for those lovely old books of ornithological drawings by explorer/artists who travelled the world, recording their discoveries.
The birds in this collection, though, are not observational studies, they are fictitious – amalgamated impressions of the birdlife around my home and studio, abstracted to convey emotions and thoughts as much as objects or moments. They feel like a natural progression of my interest in all things feathered, which began with my last collection. Perhaps it’s becoming an obsession, which I think I’m OK with.
Several of the paintings try to capture a sense of group dynamics and constant busyness, presenting an opportunity to be a bit more playful with colour. LITTLE YELLOW BIRDS pays homage to the Franz Marc painting LITTLE YELLOW HORSES, which I loved when I was younger. TOM, DICK AND HARRY takes a darker turn, while PISS OFF I’M SLEEPING was inspired by rather a brief exchange with my (wonderful) wife.
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PISS OFF, I'M SLEEPING . 125x150cm . oil on canvas . 2017
LITTLE YELLOW BIRDS . 118x118cm . oil on canvas . 2017
CURTAIN CALL . pair ea. 84x61cm . oil on canvas . 2017
TROUBLE AT THE TOP 111x136cm . oil on canvas . 2017