Sublime Affliction



Whatever is in any sort terrible or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime; that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling.
Edmund Burke






2020

An Image of Your Future





We all have vision, not as in sight, but as self-projection into an imagined reality. Foresight, premonitions and intuitions sketch out something on the other side of now, an image of hope, fulfilled desire and actualisation. All that has ever been created started as a humble electrical event in the brain, an idea that tomorrow something new will begin; a decision to be different. But the future remains an ever illusive spectre, like chasing the eyes of an owl as it endlessly turns away, we can never see its face. It does not exist. The ceaseless temporal horizon of the future inspires neurosis. Causing us to forget we have already arrived, at the present, beginning in this very moment.


An Image of Your Future, 2020,
Oil and tar on linen, 150x150cm




2021

How Green Is The Grass?





How Green is The Grass , 2021,
Oil on linen, 300x200cm


 


2020

Avoidance





Avoidance, 2020,
Oil on linen, 172cm x 87cm





2020

Waving, Drowning






Waving, Drowning (After Stevie Smith), 2020,
Oil on linen, 190x135cm








2019-2020

Secular Handover &
Untitled






Secular Handover (Reina Sofía, After El Greco), 2020,
Oil on linen, 100 x73cm





Untitled (Reina Sofía, After Richard Serra), 2019,
Oil on linen, 100 x73cm



Since the turn of the 20th century new forces took-over our collective
consciousness. The Age of Science and the Individual began to replace the order of the Church. The discovery of evolution and advancements in physics destroyed the supernatural in Christianity. The World Wars, Atom Bomb, Spanish Flu and Great Depression produced the ‘lost generation’ a generation where Gods purity turned into nihilism. There could be no noble meaning to such horror.  This nihilism soon gave way to an existential realisation: In a godless world, we were the central characters in the phenomena of being.

Realising our responsibility to choose meaning rather than have it prescribed by some deity, handed significance over to the Secular. Churches were replaced by art galleries and music venues. Saints and Profits became thinkers, artists and celebrities. The individual became the master.

Just like church was once a place to find God’s sublime power, in a more secular society art allows us to face death, our own insignificance and freedom, arts ability to evoke something greater grants us access to the sublime.

The two figures represented in the painting ‘Untitled (Reina Sofía, after Richard Serra)’ are, in some-sense, portraits of visitors to art galleries seeking emotional responses to the sublime in secular society.








2020

The Speechless Sublime



Ah!, 2020
Oil on linen , 95x57cm






Fuck, 2020,
Oil on linen , 95x57cm

..., 2020,
Oil on linen , 95x57cm








2020

The Eventual End





The Eventual End, Salk Institute, 2020,
Oil on linen, 200cm x 200cm





An event as cataclysmic as the end of humanity is something embedded in our collective consciousness. On a cosmic level, the ephemeral presence of humanity is a blip in the strangeness of the universe, something we all know must end. Despite this end, it is curious that we can more easily imagine the end of humanity at the hands of an asteroid impact, or virus, than from self-destructive and perpetual consumption; because wxho can imagine the end of capitalism?

Humanity’s attempt to leave an indelible mark on the planet, through art, discovery or the continuation of a family bloodline all amounts to nothing in the eventual end.

But the horror of our own annihilation can be accepted with dignity rather than a cacophony of panic. A final ‘well…it’s been fun’ would suffice, after all, we’ve already seen and done so much.







2020

Entanglement





Entanglement (South Bank Centre, after Giambologna), 2020,
Oil on linen, 200cm x 142cm



Relationships are not objects that we can put on a shelf and looked at, their front, back, shape and borders cannot be seen. At best they can be represented, contained as mementos and symbols of connection: a holiday photo or wedding ring. These symbolic flourishes are only reflections of an intangible connection. When two people stand side by side, they can touch, but the real connection is woven together by invisible threads, felt only by them.

New threads nurture intimacy but present more wires on which to trip. Fall once and relationships can entwine into a confusing mass. Connection constricts, lines become misunderstood, others step in to be entangled. A form too large to understand, love, is knotted.
Suddenly there is beauty in its antithesis: freedom.

Whilst this invisible mass is untangled, the holiday photo looks down blissfully unaware, permanently portraying yesterday’s connection. 








2020


Merge-Separate, Tension-Release





Merge-Seperate, Tension-Release, 2020,
Oil on linen, 200cm x 164cm



The vulnerability of love is manifest in deep connection and tension expressed in moments of physical affection. It is a dance of interlocking beings, capable of cultivating some of the strongest and most rewarding emotions in our emotional field. When we bond with another, we find ourselves in chains. Chains which are sources of great power welded together by unbreakable trust.

But equally, we are captured by the movements and desires of the other, vulnerable to the tension of two souls pulling in different directions. Reconciling a capitulation of the self and an authentic expression of ones inner-world strikes a delicate balance in which everything can be gained and lost.  The fear and beauty found in the power of love.







2020

Innocence Lost









Innocence Lost, 2020,
Oil on linen, 172 x 87cm








2016

Objects of Desire





Objects of Desire (After Laurence Weiner), 2016, Oil on linen,
196 x 196cm



Sublimity comes from somewhere beyond, or deeper than immediate sensation - it cannot be literally visualised. Thus, figures in the Sublime Affliction series interact with mysterious overbearing entities, sources of sublime power, fear and anxiety.

Like other paintings, this artwork features the interior spaces of an art gallery and other artists work, in this case the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) and part of ‘Objects of Desire’ by Laurence Weiner.








2018

The Fall of Freewill





The Fall of Freewill, 2018,
Oil on linen, 100 x 77cm



‘The Fall of Freewill’ investigates our sense of freedom and the anxiety it produces.

When we consider our potential decisions, their possible outcomes stretch into the future as endless causal chains of events for which you are responsible. This causes us to recoil in terror, at the sublime power of infinite possibility, our persistent responsibility and ultimate freedom.

Confronted with this terror we either take a leap of faith with our decisions or fall into despair, usually by looking to relinquish our freedom and responsibility onto others, society and physical world.









2014-2016

Luke I
Luke II





Luke I,  2014,
Oil on linen, 50 x 70cm




Luke II, (After Yves Klein), 2016,
Oil on linen, 50 x 70cm



Despite Art, the vastness of the universe and death being sources of sublime affliction, people themselves also embody and evoke sublimity. Friends and family are not forgotten for complexity and how they inspire respect and admiration.








2012

Brother & Sally





Brother & Sally, 2012,
Oil on linen , 140 x 100cm



Love can unearth some of the most powerful feeling and emotions we know, it glues people together and drives purpose.

It inspires intimacy, warmth, tenderness.
Passion. It inspires obsession, wrath and violence.

At all levels of society love operates with unimaginable depth and mystery, its vastness sublime.  








2014

The Scream





The Scream, 2014,
Oil on linen, 100 x 67cm



The sublime reminds us of the unfathomable, immense and invisible.

Because the sublime makes us aware of the intensity of reality it causes a triumphant terror, our existential scream.







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