Figure Paintings, 2014-2016

In 2014, I had use of a studio in Park Royal. It was a big space and it enabled me to make a series of large figure paintings.

Studio, Park Royal, London
Studio, Park Royal, London

I immediately began work on Showtime, which I had left unfinished during the previous year.

Showtime -  state in 2013
Showtime – state in 2013

Like the other figure paintings made in 2013, I initially used a combination of transfer print and paint. Similarly these pictures were inspired by places and events I had witnessed during my travels. For example, The History Man is based on a trip I made to Florence in 2013.

The History Man
The History Man, oil on MDF, 90cm x 122cm

On the Piazza della Signoria, a man holds forth for a TV camera. I eventually buried the crew beneath a decorative fretwork and an hour glass.

Film Crew
They didn’t make the final cut

The History Man’s presence is mirrored on the opposite side of the painting by a drinking fountain. Meanwhile a student demonstration marches through the city, banner aloft. NON C’E’ PIU’ TEMPO – there is no time for further discussions; it’s time for action.

As these paintings developed, I became less inclined to use transfer prints, increasingly relying solely on brushwork. I also made use of hand-cut stencils.

An example is The Scrabblers. It was started in 2015, but it was not finished until the following year and shortly before I left Park Royal.

The Scrabblers -detail
The Scrabblers -detail

This painting does not contain any printed surfaces.

A Final Fling

Against the Tide, detail of figures in a seascape
Against the Tide, detail of figures in a seascape

Before leaving Park Royal, I completed Against the Tide. Again this work demonstrates a more painterly technique. This was particularly suited to the rendering of the background, where ghost-like figures inhabit a seascape.