I am a painter who rejects the separation of the painting categories ‘abstract ‘ and ‘figurative’. For years, I have been interested in including abstract shapes in my paintings that I have observed from my surroundings, such as reflections and shadows.
Theodore Gericault’s ‘The Raft of the Medusa’ is not only an enormous painting of high drama and tragedy on a cinematic scale, but it is also an assertion of the power of underlying geometry, shape and colour to carry a narrative. It is a constant inspiration to me for the creation of meaning in art through composition, a balance of both form, shape and subject. Picasso’s ‘Three Dancers’ is equally assertive through its brightly coloured, flat geometric shapes, and like Gericault’s ‘Raft’ it also has a complex human narrative.
I hope to explain the ways in which these paintings , separated by a century, convey their meanings and deal with poignant human struggles. Both paintings have a gutsy visceral essence and can also remind faltering, or doubting artists of what is possible.
About the series
What are the artistic reference points for today’s artists? How do exemplary works of art from the past inform their creativity? In this new series of Arts & Society forums, we invite artists in a variety of spheres to select a work of art and explain how it has influenced them. How has their chosen piece prompted them to emulate its achievement?