Playground of the Rich and Famous, 2020
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45 x 45 x 0.4cm
Oil on board, 2020
(Framed: 48 x 48 x 3cm)
Shortlisted for the Cooper Prize 2021
"A view of the grounds and beyond at Cannon Hall, painted late 2020. Originally the home of the Spencer and later the Spencer-Stanhope family, the gardens were designed by a lesser-known contemporary of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, Richard Woods.⠀
As I was walking through the park on that autumn morning, I wondered how many raucous parties had spilled out onto the lawns, and who amongst the Georgian social 'elite' had spent their leisure time at the house back in its heyday."
This artwork is framed in a simple contemporary black-painted wooden tray frame with 5mm shadow gap.
My current work explores spaces, landscapes and structures—man-made or organic, and the relationship of one against and within the other.
It can be blatant or hinted in my paintings, but I’m cognizant of how man has stamped his boots on the earth, built monumental engineering and architecture, created environments and populated landscapes—later discarding those creations and moving on when use has been fulfilled. Even in the quietest, most windswept and unpopulated places, there are still often signs of human presence. A path or wall, a signpost or telegraph pole. Signs of interference—past or present.
I find humanity’s relationship with our planet both fascinating and repellent. Humans are parasitic creatures of Earth—we’ve done so much environmental damage while civilisation has evolved—and yet our capacity for invention, creation and innovation is magnificent. Outside of politics and big business, we have the creativity to start redressing the balance and repair some of the destruction we’ve caused, and it’s exciting—and heartening—to hear about such endeavours.
While the bright-shiny-new-things will always grab magpie-like attention, the story of man’s left-behind places is also frequently an interesting one. Whether it's a story of decay and return to the earth, or one of life breathed back and a renewed purpose given.