‘The paintings in Still come from my interest in patterns, repetitions, variations, and rhythm. I use colour not to describe something in nature, but to give contrast and weight to the composition. Each picture is its own world and can be interpreted as the viewer wishes. Paintings and drawings need the presence of the viewer to complete them, and for this, we can allow ourselves to be still.
Since moving to the North East in 2011, I’ve concentrated on the three essential areas of my daily activity to inform my art practice.
These are carpentry, yoga and Buddhism. Carpentry provides unlimited offcuts, random shapes and planks to catch my eye. These sometimes find their way into paintings. Their physical presence adds to the self-sufficient qualities I like my works to have. My yoga suggests figurative shapes that have a strong and diagrammatic quality. All this is held within the Buddhist view of the individual and the universal coexisting at the same moment all the time, in a ceaseless flow. This gives rise to threads within the work such as variations on themes, where differences coexist within similar compositions.
All art tells a story from the artist’s point of view – a shared experience arises when the images ignite some form of recognition that speaks directly to the viewer. I can never experience someone else’s particular way of seeing the world, but, through art, we can share the view.
There are no rules when looking at art, but I find it helpful to look without trying to understand at first – just seeing what comes up in the moment, without rushing to analyse it immediately. Then it begins to show itself. From here, understanding or not, liking or disliking, indifference or engagement can arise. This might be called ‘slow looking’, which may seem subversive in a world where we are surrounded with flickering pixels.’ — James Ward