Object Relations (the life of things)
Galleries 1, 2 & 3
8 - 19 October 2014
Opening Wednesday 8 October, 6.30-8pm
Over the past ten years, between bouts of landscape painting, I have consistently painted what are commonly called “still life”, an English version of the French nature morte, or literally, dead nature. Historically, such paintings tended to depict objects or foodstuffs acquired through wealth (i.e. cut flowers and dead pheasants) but took on other meanings through painters such as Cezanne and Morandi, both influenced by Chardin (Jean-Siméon 1699-1779) who in a recent European retrospective was called The Painter of Silence.
This is an apt title, Chardin’s objects, a jug or bowl of cherries, seem to have the weight of reality; the light and air flowing around them are palpable, more real (in the corporeal sense) than memory.
My paintings of objects aren’t silent: to me they seem not dead but alive. Many were chosen as subjects because they were broken, and, rather than just throw them out, I decided to observe them with their actual function removed but alive in other ways through their formal properties (like R Mutt’s urinal). As I painted them, I became aware of my relationship to them, what they reminded me of, how their design and how they occupied their space moved me, a dialogue ensuing. Thus my title, a term from psychology, a pretentious pun really, but also with some truth behind it, especially in the sense of self-psychology theory, in which not only people function as self-objects - extensions of our selves prowing into the world - but also in contemporary art therapy thinking, where objects and the space they live in and move and have their being, can similarly function.