“Mother and Child”
The Sunbury Embroidery Gallery, Sunbury on Thames TW16 6AB
The subject “Mother and Child” has occupied a constant place in the history of painting and art in general: a theme that has inspired many artists in both distant and recent times. We would be lost in a myriad of names if I mentioned all of them. I will restrict myself to a few of the 20th century who have interested me particularly: Picasso produced exquisite drawings and a large number of paintings on the subject during his long and varied activity; Henry Moore wonderfully carved images of moving tenderness and monumentality; Chagall, with his poetry of line and colour… This theme has always interested me, for its timeless content and for the exploration of human emotions.
Three years ago, my friend Marcus Harrison, the photographer, came to my studio with a photograph of a pregnant woman, reclining, with her small son stretched on her exposed belly, as if the child were communicating with his unborn sibling. I found this image profoundly moving and it compelled me to return, after some years, to this subject, “Mother and Child”.
In these paintings I do not want to work the soil of the subconscious – which was so admirably seeded by Surrealism. The subconscious and the unconscious offer a vast panorama of exploration in art. The subconscious may shape one’s art, but cannot create art. The very act of making a painting is a conscious one, with all its technical and physical implications.
Over the years I have collected a large number of old frames, some damaged by neglect and time, but what attracted me was the history and the mystery of these objects . What paintings were living in that space, now empty? I stored these in my studio, thinking that maybe one day I would use them. For this exhibition, that day has come.