I seek to poeticise the ominous entropic future for which we may be headed. My intention is to utilise the potential inherent within the medium of paint to depict defunct objects, monolithic structures silently inhabiting an interstitial realm. I am influenced by the background set design of retro science fiction films such as Forbidden Planet (1958) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). There is a forceful, vivid emptiness to the geometric forms that convey vastly superior fictitious technologies that has informed how I construct the aesthetic of my paintings. The reason for my interest in the look and feel of such films is that the era depicted is perpetually beyond our perceptual capacity – it is eternally in the future. To give shape to the allusive realm and void that appears when one considers what the future may look like is the point of departure for my work. Whilst this pursuit may seem at once futile and one may consider it a more appropriate means of further erasing what we already do not know, I see the futility as generative. Each void encountered whispers of another and creates a perpetual cycle of erasure and creation.
The potential inadequacy of paint as a medium is of importance to my practise. I paint in thin washes of acrylic, generating chalky, matte forms that merge together to convey a future in a state of high entropy – a burnt out, listless place tinged with the possibility that something else might occur. In a sense, this hinterland for which I search is more akin to a primordial soup, a return to a time when structure may reform and adapt again. The obsolete monoliths that are suggested in my work may start whirring and sputtering again, restarting their ambiguous functions that slowed to a halt over the course of time.
My use of silver paint and my occasional use of aluminium as a surface on which to paint is so that I may channel the myriad references that are latent within the colour. Andy Warhol said of silver, “Silver was the future, it was spacey – the astronauts … and silver was also the past – the Silver Screen – Hollywood actresses photographed in silver sets. And maybe more than anything else, silver was narcissism – mirrors were backed with silver.” Within this statement, one becomes aware of several seemingly disparate arenas: the exploration of the outer reaches of the solar system, the artifice and fakery of Hollywood and the traditional domesticity of silver backed mirrors and silver dinner services. In a way, these areas are all of importance to my practise. Whilst I intend my paintings to speak of a distant future and a vast chasm of time, I also want to downsize the potential opulence of this gesture. The overblown sublime techno experience of the realm beyond the infinite in 2001: A Space Odyssey is a case in point. I want to imagine what happens after the pomp and circumstance of the event, what would happen when the freefall into infinity stops? These trajectories into the unknown become anchored within the blunt manipulation of substance on surface and would serve to catch the viewer’s gaze before it escaped into the vastness beyond.
By over-painting and scraping back through the thin layers of paint in a pseudo archaeological fashion, the paintings may become palimpsests, recording my aesthetic decisions over the course of its creation. By allowing the viewer to glimpse the history of the painting and attempting to depict a fictitious future, the past and the future may criss-cross each other and create an anachronistic space. As the artist Robert Smithson stated of the intention of his Post-Minimalist aesthetic, this temporal alchemy may serve to fight entropy and induce a sense of permanence that may move against the degenerative tide.