The work is a culmination of many different influences over a long period including the hierarchy, symmetry and flat format of Byzantine and Pre-Renaissance Painting; symbolism, myth, Sir Robin Phillipson,...
The work is a culmination of many different influences over a long period including the hierarchy, symmetry and flat format of Byzantine and Pre-Renaissance Painting; symbolism, myth, Sir Robin Phillipson, John Maxwell, Pre-Raphaelites, Cranach, German Expressionism, Beckmann and museum displays.
The female form is a focus because I am the narrator, and the women I portray are sometimes me but often they are victims and often they are sirens who can epitomize lust, betrayal, hope or fear, death, compassion, loneliness or loss.
I lived in the once fishing village of Footdee at the mouth of Aberdeen Harbour for over 35 years and still have a house there. The sea, the River Dee, piers, oil supply and naval boats which surrounded me had a strong influence. They have provided a backcloth for my work, which is mainly autobiographical, based on past memories, intermixed with present experiences and woven around a recognizable social context. Footdee and my studio recently featured in the series A Secret History of our Streets by Century Films for BBC2.
As a child growing up in the post-war years I was very aware of the deprivations and the ugliness of war through the psychological disruptions it continued to generate in my family.
The Magic Gate and Other Stories continues the family saga and looks back to the fifties. It is a memorial to my sister Evelyn who died in 2010 and to my cat. After lunch, when I was small, my younger brother and I would curl up in bed with my mother and she would read us stories from the Magic Gate. The family all appear in remembered roles and the work is designed like a pop-up theatre, each scene layered one behind the other up the picture plane.