PICTURES OF THE DARK [2015/16]
Our collective obsession with recording every moment of our lives often burdens us with an over-abundance of imagery – most of it not-quite-right and destined for the digital knacker’s yard. Children are prolific masters when it comes to such photographic oddities, their indiscrimination with the shutter creating a kind of visual stream of consciousness. My phone contains a wealth of images captured stealthily by our four-year-old son and I am drawn to them by my ongoing fascination with life’s rejects and imperfections. On closer inspection these ‘Pictures of the Dark’ possess beguiling qualities, finding truth in the moment and expressing meaning through abstraction. Human forms become vague silhouettes and landscapes are distilled into planes of dark colour that provide the bare minimum of information from which to conjure a narrative.
With subjects for this collection including buzzards, bats, swans, a palace garden, derelict buildings and the moon, it’s fair to say that I haven’t narrowed my gaze while seeking inspiration; but then I’ve always admitted to being a bit of a magpie when it comes to source material. Despite appearing arbitrary, the images I’ve used all function as visual metaphors for our current stage of life – the highs and lows, the hope and despair, the sublime and the ridiculous. Like single frames from different scenes of a silent movie.
The images are laid bare and stripped to the bone, reduced to outlines that are scraped and scratched onto the picture's surface with a rawness that conveys the primitive emotions of love and loss. Figures, vulnerable and fragile, appear twisted or broken – trapped within the confines of their surroundings and contorted by the anguish of grief. Landscapes are swollen or fragmented with subjects that are almost, but never entirely, consumed by desolation.
'The Cold Bath'
FOR ROB . 1978-2015
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