Original Proposal,

I plan to produce a major set of paintings that will embody a culmination of my research into the vitality of painting as an expression of my will and consciousness.  I wish to understand and highlight the non-verbal communication between one human consciousness and another through the medium of visual perception. This will have a particular focus on temporal qualities of the painting process. Inspired by the eclectic output of Gerhart Richter I plan to explore traditional genres (still life, landscape, the figure etc.)  whilst avoiding imposing any “style”. I hope that by striving for personal authenticity style or method will develop naturally. I will examine my ontological relationships with the motifs and the materials and investigate more fully whether the phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger would answer my investigations and temperament.

I plan to finish my book of jug studies with accompanying text which will expound my critical development alongside the images.

As part of my painting process, I will use and repurpose and develop the ”Time Travelling Tea Hut” caravan/studio/relational space (built as part of last year’s work and put to multiples uses) to immerse myself in the Anglian rural environment, in order to deeply engage with landscape painting, and in particular with the free form skies, using Hubert Damisch’s “Theory of Cloud” as a guide. I will explore painters who have lived and worked in East Anglia in order to help inform my work and enquiry.

How can I produce work that has both meaning and has visual impact, without being too dictatorial to my audience? Work that communicates clearly between mine and another human consciousness? By gauging feedback I can assess how my work is perceived, and decide how much ambiguity is desirable. I want to discover what elements the human perception finds most engaging. My reading and research into Neuroaesthetics has suggestedthat representational and figural work supplies more information triggering higher level of brain activity. However why do so many ( including myself) find photorealism unsatisfying, yet paradoxically enjoy high realism when it has been worked from observation. How much further can I take the representation away from literality before I lose the viewer to their own constructions and the need to read the text alongside? How can I make it span the chasm between my intent and the construction of the viewer? How can this work be ethical, in terms of materiality, of construction, of meaning? How can it be for the benefit of society? How can I use all that I have discovered with my last projects, with the Jug Series of studies, and the storyboard/mood board painting series be taken further?

Using the springboard of my Jug Series, I now have a better set of material tools and techniques to approach my final work. Technically my practice framework is taken from the Venetian school of painting up until the late 18th Century, with some colour influence from the French and American Impressionists, the Italian Divisionists and Post Impressionists and Salvador Dali. My technical expertise is informed by the research of conservationists and art historians ( in particular the National Gallery’s annual technical bulletin, Ralph Mayer’s “The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Technoques”, Tad Spurgeon's “Living Craft” painting materials research website and book, and the paint producer and technologist George O’Hanlon of Natural Pigments).

Having visited “Beyond Caravaggio” at the National Gallery, the recent Vermeer show, and the Francis Bacon retrospective at the Sainsbury’s Centre and find myself firmly committed and inspired to follow the painting muse the immense flexibility and range of expression it offers me. I am particularly interested in the depiction of light, and am going to Madrid to see the Sorolla show and intend to visit the Prado and particularly the work of Velasquez.

Having attended TRAC2015 (The Representation Artist Conference) in Ventura, California, I am very aware of a global resurgence in humanist representational painting. There are several contemporary artists whose work I admire who were in attendance or were discussed in the proceeding, the Spanish painter Dino Valls, Odd Nerdrum, Brad Kunkle, Conor Walton and academic thinkers such as Michael Pierce, Alan Lawson and Roger Scruton. I plan to explore and expand on the information and individuals I met whilst there. I was particularly impressed with the keynote speaker Prof Semir Zeki, whose book “Splendours and Miseries of the Brain” looks into human brain reactions to aesthetic stimuli. As a counter to Seki’s work Prof. Roger Scruton spoke the year earlier and posited that the attempt to answer all questions with science leads “too frequently to caricature and even nonsense”. From the point of view of a rationalist and an atheist I would like to explore these boundaries. 

Alongside my development as a painter I want to expand my art beyond making and into the “being” of an artist. Joseph Beuys responded to the post-holocaust world in which he existed and the history he inherited, I want to explore what my cultural contextual “being” is. Do I really live in a post-truth world? A digital age? Do I merely passively reflect or can I be reflexive and proactively affect? What does this mean? How can creative living be embodied in my life, or in anyone’s life? In how many ways can I be an artist? Can I make my practice meaningful in an ecological way?

During my research I came across artists practices which caused me to question the ethical frameworks employed. What has relativistic thinking done to the Art-world? Borrowing the ethical core principles set out by the Economic and Social Science Research council I will review praxis and theory in order to address these concerns. How is this going to affect my work?

Critical theory is becoming increasingly important to me with regard to my practice, 

but I find the dualism in dialectic argument at times irrational, and rather than achieve a synthesis it too often it merely self negates. I hope to navigate this thinking and come to some personal resolution. I have been attracted to the ideas of Transdiscliplinarianism and the new treatise of Metamodernism and plan to fully investigate these over this period of time.

Output will be a series of paintings, a book on Jugs, The Time Travelling Tea-Hut. Supplementary Performance and Relational events may occur. All will be recorded in a blog format.

I will engage wth the academic community with my critical enquiry. I may write papers or articles, and attempt to exchange correspondence with leading thinkers. I would like to get some educational teaching/lecturing/speaking experience.

I will need the use of the wood workshop for making of frames and easels to support large format work. I will need to resubmit Health and Safety for the placement of the Caravan.