My Drawings I
These drawings are transitional between the work from my time at art school (1979-83) until the early 90s and everything from then until the present day. They resulted from a crisis in which I could no longer paint. Every time I tried I was overcome with anxiety and the painting would vanish in a grey mess. So I started to draw automatically in earnest, outpacing the anxiety - which I did not especially feel in the rest of my life - through speed. The amorphous forms were given a little definition, sometimes self-consciously thinking of Matta as I did so as he often seemed to be influencing the work. Others now remind me a little of Arshile Gorky. Through furious scribbling and then erasing I found a precarious balance from which point I could move forward. The oddest thing was I suddenly found it impossible to do small drawings, all my sketchbooks stopped about this time and for several years.
The subject often seems to be a collision of inner and outer spaces, both melting and fusing or opposing and in conflict. Both the object/beings in the drawings and the space they live in seem to be barbed, toothed and clawed. Sometimes with the earlier works I had a vague notion of a sort of cosmic war in which vast beings, minerals and energies battled with each other. Presumably this reflected my own inner conflicts, but I felt unable at first to fully form these conflicts as their implied scale seemed what? Pretentious? But they were not, for the sense of conflict was very real to me and I was led, almost blindly, to a different way of drawing.
Looking back at them now, I can see that a part of their inspiration was the walls and other surfaces that constituted many of my photographs. I no longer seem to know if I was aware of this at the time, but in at least some of these images the two seem to intertwine and form one vision.