May 31 - June 28, 2014
Exhibition view, Langford120, 2014
As a painter who works with tubed paints, and as an artist alert to the potentialities of objects to inspire ideas and works, I have accumulated a collection of emptied oil paint tubes.
When, in the eighties, I commenced what has now become a sizeable collection, paint tubes were made of lead. The malleability and look of the material appealed to me. I maintained this ritual of conserving my containers even when oil paint manufacturers switched to using tubes made from a metal alloy lined in silver or gold. This time I was attracted to the reflective quality of the tube’s inner lining.
Coincidently I have been incorporating pure gold or gold and silver foil in paintings and works on paper since 2008 and this recently prompted me to consider my collection of tubes: perhaps I could explore the potential of the exposed metal to act as a substitute for the sheen and luminosity I seek in my paintings. Until now I have had no good reason to reconfigure these rather beautiful, individual shapes that resemble miniature shields or plaques.
I have used some of my tube collection in this suite of six works - 4 ‘gold’, 1 ‘silver’ and 1 lead. The cut metal squares arranged within a square, and burnished with my now rarely used printmaking tools, may allude to many things: for me they represent, albeit obliquely, painting generally and in particular my own art practice. That the surfaces of these works expose the normally unseen interiors of materials considered inconsequential studio detritus seems an apt metaphor for much of the unrevealed thoughts, facture processes and emotions that form the material of artworks along with their physical constituents.
Although these works were made within the last few months I think it appropriate to consider them ‘made’ between 1988 and 2014.