Most of this body of work was made before COVID hit our shores in any significant way. I wrote the following before I had any conception of exactly how much uncertainty we were all about to face:
“In a world obsessed by certainties, these paintings ruminate on the ambiguous, the unknown and the mysterious.
They show nothing we recognise or know in a literal sense and they do not show us a physical place we could visit. These are ‘pictures’ of something that cannot be defined and cannot be owned …definitely indefinite. At times happily, though at other times anxiously or even frighteningly, the work celebrates the space of doubt. An intangible mystery.
An uncertain world, asking questions: Perhaps they simultaneously impart a feeling of the familiar and the unfamiliar? What is foreground? What is background? Near? Far? Random? Controlled? Void? Matter? High? Low? Push? Pull? Up? Down? Shame or shameless? Questions to which there are no absolute answers. Perhaps many answers?
The words of American artist Richard Tuttle resonate here:
“My job is the creation of possibility, but meaning is created by the experience of the viewer. What I dream of is as many meanings as there are viewers.”1
Like walking through an unfamiliar city without a map, these paintings are made using improvisation as a working method. So, the history or passage of time is important to the process of making. Each mark or layer is in response to what came before. The layers of paint are built up in transparent glazes and opaque fields, sanded and re-applied, revealing and concealing the history of the dialogue between painter and painting.
Carol Batchelor 2020
1 Tuttle, Richard. Dream Imagery. The Dallas Morning News, 17 July 2006. <https:/www.speronewestwater.com> accessed 15/10/06