Sublime Affliction



 

The Unseen Sublime (2020)
200cm x 100cm



2012 - 2020
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






The Eventual End 


2020

[Salk Institute]
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.



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Entanglement 


2020

[South Bank Centre, after Giambologna] 
200cm x 142cm







2020

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. 










Merge-Separate, Tension-Release


2020

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.









Innocence Lost



2020

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








Objects of Desire



2016

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.


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












Oil Painting Detail, Reclining figure, Objects of Desire





The Fall of Freewill



2018

‘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.



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












Untitled
(Reina Sofía, after Richard Serra)



2019

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.



Untitled (Reina Sofía, After Richard Serra), 2019, Oil on linen,
100 x 73cm












Luke I 
Luke II



2014 - 2016

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.



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













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











Brother & Sally



2012 

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.  



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












Callum I



2014 

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.



Callum I, 2014, Oil on linen,
100 x 67cm













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