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Campden Gallery 2012

There always comes a point in time where I need to switch to a different medium.

A change of process opens up other possibilities with the promise of unlocking hidden doors. The brain is subdued, overtaken by the play and the exploration of the element of craft. This creates its own connections between stimuli, time and response, beyond thought, and dictates what should be acted on or reacted against.

The images which form the basis of the mixed media work (some recently re-discovered) were recorded over a longer period of time, either with drawing, photography or watercolour. To have been there, physically, to capture the image and to take away a particular sense of place was essential. What is afterwards imagined then develops embellishes or simplifies this record, by calling up a memory of what was sensed. I try to envisage a depiction outside its original parameters by stretching and pushing it away and out of the restrictions of its original frame. These then are the essential building blocks of the current mixed media work. Re-inventing the catalyst which initially drew me in to the subject.

The key is light or its absence. This is how form or structure evolves. It illuminates that which seems essential. Other elements can fade, dissolve or become immaterial. Light suggests what needs to be lost or implied and what needs to be found or said. Through perceived memory of a place or an atmosphere, key elements are selected, exaggerated or become focal points. However it can be that what is believed to be remembered is actually imagined. Again it is merely the connections that are tangible.

References to landscape, still life, the natural and the architectural, are unavoidable, and remain within the core of the oil paintings, at times filtering out through the work. Writing about the sources of these works is more difficult because the content is not so much in the subject matter but contained in the painting activity. What is remembered or worked through here is not an image or a time and a place, but a process suggesting or presenting different ways to use form, colour, tone and space, creating the conditions for the fusion between mood and form, whilst allowing space for something still to be revealed. Again the process relates to the connections that arise between these various elements extracting which has more importance and how they should relate.

When asked, which artists have inspired me most, I could surely supply a good list. But this would only be a part of the story, the tip of an iceberg of influences, with the rest remaining submerged. Perhaps, then, another pertinent way to see these connections is to quote Ad Reinhardt: ‘An artist is related to the artists that have gone before him and the artists that come after him.’

Ralph Freeman, April 2012


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