Space is a Dangerous Country - Columbia / Disaster, 2015 - Oil on canvas
I am initially drawn to the objects or elements used in the
work by their power, function or beauty. There is always an
underlying content that can be developed, like the icons on a
computer; the small image is a surface sign for what is hidden
beneath. Click - and they open.
Through painting I try to 'open' the elements. The whales
tail image conveyed grace and strength for me, the way I could
intertwine two or more to suggest a gentle waltz, spoke of its
vulnerability in spite of its being the largest, most powerful
animal on earth.
In the 'Wiper Series' the wiping action of the image led to ways of realising the paintings, physically recreating the windscreen wiper and using it to obscure images already made. Again the contradiction is informing the work - wipers wipe, mine obscure. This is the recalling of an encounter with a twister whilst driving.
In more recent works on paper and the large canvases I have
taken as a source the biggest canvas possible - Space, the
impossible concept of infinity - against my attempts to
manipulate paint and form both surface and image to grasp at the
idea - everything yet nothing, the importance of evolution and life
is as nothing to Infinity . Line on line, colour on colour,
marking the surface in an attempt to redefine it, to feel the
infinity. The image I am currently using resembles a dumpy little
aircraft, this is taken from a NASA photograph of the Columbia
space capsule exploding on re-entry, again the delicate balance -
destruction at the point of safety.
These thoughts and experiences are feeding the work, they excite me, generating the energy of it, but the working process is the real inventor and director of the work. Finding ways of manipulating surfaces e.g. folding and manipulating the paper surface to reveal the hidden, or finding ways to describe infinity whilst still preserving the integrity of the canvas or paper surface. There are limitless moves of a very physical and messy substance, paint. Instinct, contrivance, intellect and emotion are all contributors to the process.
From Notes on Work: John Loker 2005/10
And what is the emotion invoked? A sense of vulnerability. Things fall apart, centres do not hold. These paintings attempt to make permanent the endless cycle of dissolution and flux. In ' Didn't Make the Clouds' drops of liquid make an appearance. They might be tears, they might be rain. They too talk of changing states, of the inevitable shift from perfection to corruption. Like modern day vanitas paintings remind us of life's impermanence and volatility.
Sue Hubbard 2009