I’m not sure I know the answer to the question ‘what are those strange wooden paintings?’. I’m referring to the strange wooden paintings filling up in my kitchen. However, I can explain from whence they came, in terms of the concept and the idea.
A few weeks ago, I asked friends to give me a ‘can’t live without object’ and post a picture of said object on social media. They responded with many things. I then drew these objects in virtual reality. This was a massive challenge as an isolated activity. The process of doing this threw up lots of questions: about the nature of the ‘thing’, about the difference between real and virtual, about the nature of drawing and also about the role of the artist.
After that, I decided to recreate the virtual reality paintings in oil on wood, bringing them back to the ‘real world’ so to speak. So that is what I did. I created a series of odd, semi-abstract drawing / paintings of just-about-recognisable ‘things’. These were interesting, albeit a little odd.
Then stuck about where to go next, I had a dream. I dreamt that I should recreate an element of the sensation of the virtual reality drawing experience by paintings the objects again, this time in three dimensions, of sorts, to give the feel of space as well as time and form. So that is what I have been doing.
The next day, after my dream, I trotted off to B&Q and bought some interesting bits of wood. I painted them black, stuck them together and started painting on them in the style of virtual reality drawing, even more abstract versions of a selection of the original ‘can’t live without’ objects. These creations, the ones I have completed to date, do not resemble the objects at all now. I don’t believe that someone could look at one of these paintings and say ‘oh, that’s obviously a shoe’ or ‘it is definitely a mug of tea’ which they could do with the flat paintings, but I hope they will see something. I guess it doesn’t matter too much what they see, so long as they see a ‘thing’ and have an experience. This ‘thing’ might be just, on a superficial level, an abstract painting in three-dimensions. It might be a recognisable shape. It might be a thing they feel exists in time and space, as well as form. It might even be a ‘shoe’ or a ‘mug’. Who knows?
I find the concept behind these paintings interesting but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be interesting to people who see them, people who probably won’t know about the concept. I will just have to wait and see.