Between 1989 and 1995 I produced a large number of oil paintings based on an intense contemplative analysis of groups of objects. Many of the paintings and the objects upon which they were based echoed the kinds of objects I’d used in earlier installations and performances (eg. bones, stones, twigs, feathers and potsherds). At the time I wrote the following note: ‘painting is a way of coming into knowledge, making sense, investigating and celebrating the “otherness” of the world — engaging with things outside the “self” — recognising the strangeness of the familiar’.
Working directly from observation was, and is, for me a process of contemplative scrutiny – trying to transcribe sensations into paint with as little distortion or manipulation as possible. In this sense it can be considered as closely related to the practice of zazen – zen meditation.
Some of these works were included in solo exhibitions at Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London, 1993 and The Archaeology of Seeing, at Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, 1994.
This is one of the first of the still-life series: