March. detail paint and ash on canvas 2020
While the title of my painting, March, refers to the season of early spring, of changing and contrasting weather, it also invokes several other avenues of meaning. The origin of the word indicates the making of a ‘mark’ akin to drawing a map. It can also mean ‘to march’ as a demarcation of contested terrain; here the contested terrains are of painting, labour, class and landscape.
Paint is used to create stained, glazed, and burnished imagery where pollard willows, tracks and hedgerows compose picturesque taste, whereas the blue-jacketed central figure is about his rural work and is surrounded by tools, implements and his dog as though surrounded by his thoughts. Thoughts which are sometimes methodical and perhaps alienated but in the instance of the salmon-coloured dog, magically linked to the natural world.
The picturesque view, a synthesis of literature and landscape, combines composition and syntax as picture poetry. The patterns of painted trees, carefully spaced suggest a lyrical encryption, a coded taste. The central figure stands in dialogue with this background implicitly asking questions about his connectedness to nature and to culture.