I must admit to having been, maybe only on rare occasions, one of those men; sitting in a group and ogling women walking past. I do feel ashamed, and a sense of complicity. Perhaps that’s why the male gaze and the #metoo movement have become recurring themes in my recent work; maybe I’m seeking redemption. In my defence, I grew up when Miss World and Benny Hill were primetime family viewing.
I was particularly interested in painting something based on The Judgement of Paris, because it is such an outrageous anachronism in the present moral climate.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
War and Peace, 2021 (after Rubens)
In 1630, the artist Peter Paul Rubens presented King Charles I with the painting “Minerva Protects Pax from Mars – Peace and War”. Rubens had been sent to England as the peace envoy of Philip IV of Spain (England and Spain had been at war for five years), and his painting depicted Minerva protecting Pax from an assault by Mars, allowing the other figures in the painting to enjoy the spoils of peace. There was a clear message – peace brings prosperity. A peace treaty was signed later that year.
My own interpretation is not quite so optimistic.
So, what could you do in four years?
I was showing my brother this painting, “Men in Suits”, explaining how it had taken four years to complete, from troubled start to tortuously slow end. And then I said “Well, what else would I have done?”
“Well, you could have completed a degree course in less time” he suggested, which got me thinking. Damn! Four years is actually quite a long time.
It took just a little longer to build the Hindenburg, but it only took two years to complete the Titanic. The First World War only lasted four years; time enough to kill 8.5 million soldiers. The Trump presidency survived four long years, and look what he managed to do.
Okay, so none of them had to contend with models cancelling at the last minute; or with four studio moves. And then there was Covid… Well, Trump dealt with Covid, sort of.
Now, I must add that I haven’t been working on this painting everyday for four whole years. Most of the time it has been turned towards the wall. But it has been painted and repainted on numerous occasions in that time. And well, yes, now I think about it, it is a long time.
I’m very pleased to learn that my painting “I did not ask” has been accepted into this year’s Discerning Eye exhibition.
The Discerning Eye annual exhibition is a show of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics.
The selectors choose both publicly submitted works and works by personally invited artists. Each selector’s section is hung separately to give each its own distinctive identity. The impression emerges of six small exhibitions within the whole.
The opening night of “Nude or Fully Clothed” at Nude Tin Can Gallery in St Albans went very well. Very pleased to make a sale, which always puts me in a good mood. But also it was such a well organised event (busy, but not overly crowded), that the whole evening shot by, with plenty of interesting conversations.
I should add that the journey to St Albans was surprisingly easy – less than 30mins on Thameslink from St Pancras. The exhibition continues until the 29th January, and is well worth a visit.