"What seest thou else in the dark backward and abysm of time?"
William Shakespeare, The Tempest (act 1, Sc 2,1.49)
I find our placid day-to-day reality untrustworthy. It is a busy anaesthetic we use to distract ourselves from anxieties about death, loneliness and our many inadequacies. The world is a dangerous place where dropping your guard can cost everything while vigilance is a boring straitjacket.
I am much more comfortable in the world of fairytales and myths. As a child living in the North of England these fantastic stories were my way of understanding the land I was growing up in. It provided a poetry and passion that prosaic history could not give. I would cycle near where the witches of Alderley congregated and I understood that the road named the "Sylvan Way" belonged to the elves. In my maturity, I often find myself returning to these fey emotional truths.
Animals were the starting point for this small collection of new paintings. I wasn't interested in domesticated creatures but in the way their untamed forebears move within our psyche. Animals weave within all our old stories, explaining our complex humanity to us.
These paintings re-enact ancient dramas that preceded ritual and myth. I am trying to locate the oldest stories from those primitive interior places where human and animal coexist. Those stories, both personal and collective, give depth and meaning to our lives.
From those deep dark spaces within... where tales begin, I offer these.