A book with notes
About the structure
Often, now, painters are asked to justify their choice of medium: why paint? For me this question is neither useful nor relevant. I paint. The question is what do I want from painting. Mainly it is an unconscious process which emerges naturally. Sometimes I select a photograph or image, and plan a painting from that image. But the process of working on a picture itself is irreversible. The surface in painting, for me, is the driving force. The image that emerges during the process of working on the picture is a complex structure where the boundaries of reality are blurred, but they are hiding something important - the memory of the action taken before the picture was finished. During the process of working on the picture, when you are engaged in the action of representing, it becomes part of me - the 'extension' of me - that cannot be expressed in words and only when it is finished it continues its independent existence. I do not predict the reaction of the audience as that is, by definition, impossible. Although I am interested in the independent existence of my work after it is finished - its interaction with the public - when the picture is finished for me the process ends: I lose my interest until I start another painting. I care what people think of the work, but I no longer care for the work. When the process ceases, so does my interest in that painting.
One key aspect of my technique is my method of applying and removing PVA glue (see images below).While working on the picture I paint the foreground first, and then I apply the PVA glue to the canvas. After it dries I take it off. Usually the glue lightens the paint beneath the surface - sometimes it even becomes transparent. The surface may be flat or rigidly structured, depending on the particular affect I'm trying to get. The process of erasure is always complicated because it is difficult to remove the dried glue - it does not always work predictably. Ripping off the glue is often a real physical exertion – a struggle. But this violent act against the canvas is important for me: the process of layering one layer on another helps me to create a dimensional, volumetric structure, and significantly it remembers what is hidden beneath the surface. This resonates with the idea of memory especially the traumatic understanding that I will not be able to repeat the same again – this is an inevitable trajectory towards the end of the process. However I am still exploring this method by investigating the use of color and layers.
Different structures after the glue eraser.