“Although ‘abstract’ in a modernist context, my method of painting has links to Impressionism, both in colour and mark making. Light is the main focus but on occasions colour becomes the chief element. These two focuses alternate and the surface varies according to the content. I like to think that it is a live surface with a pulse which conveys the emotions I felt in the making. The works come out of me and depend on my mood at the time of painting. They are autobiographical and relate to the path taken by previous paintings.
This exhibition can be divided into two groups. The six larger works are titled ‘Plain Song: The Light Plain’. The smaller works are titled ‘Plain Song: Four Songs from Winter’.
‘The Light Plain’ series has a horizontal axis with a large area in a band towards the top which is set into the background. ‘Plain Song’ the overall title refers to limiting the painting to a two dimensional object composed of planes of paint. There exists nowadays a modernist language of two-dimensional painting, the legacy of painters such as Matisse, Mondrian, Rothko, Barnet Newman, Agnes Martin, Sean Scully and the list goes on. I see myself as being a part of that language. I have been influenced more locally by Colin McCahon and Milan Mrkusich, pioneers in NZ modernist painting.
‘Plain Song’ also refers obviously to music. Music is the most abstract of the arts, relying on structure, rhythm, colour and tone to communicate emotion. These elements can also be applied to the visual image. I have often called paintings ‘songs’ or used titles that allude to music.
These paintings were all completed last year and they reflect the changing light outside my studio doors and as well how the seasons influence my palette. Having taken a year to get ready, I hope it will now hang together harmoniously and convey to the viewer how the year 2015 was for me.”