Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Through The Edge Of Darkness

                              Through The Edge Of Darkness  Oil on Canvas 122 x 77cm                                                            
                       
                           "Through The Edge Of Darkness" was painted at "The Hampstead School of Art", London  somewhere between 2007 and 2008. I had become influenced by the emotional, spiritual works of abstract expressionist Mark Rothko. He had experimented, making paintings into experiences of tragedy and ecstasy - the basic conditions of existence.It is said the aim of his life's work was to express the essence of the universal human drama.
                          I began this piece by using a camcorder, taking blurred still pictures of parts of previous paintings that I was interested in. After taking fifty or so miniature photographs, I selected a couple which I worked up into large scale oil paintings. I used a layering process to give a sense of depth - there are reds, ochre's for instance beneath the white and pinks underlining the grey and black. I used a large brush to soften the edges between the three main areas to help them merge and create a sombre effect.
With brother Joe  c1965
                          "Through The Edge Of Darkness" is about facing our worst times - tragedy and despair, pain and suffering, disappointment and loss. We have all been there at some point. Last year, for instance, was not too bad for me until in August,  I got the tragic news that my brother Joe was terminally ill. He was just four years older than me and we were very close "blood brothers". One of my earliest recollections of Joe as a young child was him giving up half of his own pocket-money to buy me a set of crayons. Such was his nature. I remember that sense of wonder looking at these fantastic colours and I began to use them. I expect these early creative experiences influenced my direction in art later on. Later we went to the same school together and he showed me the ropes around the school and yard.
                           Joe was warm, generous, compassionate and good humoured. He was extremely intelligent but yet also had the ability to be simple and engaging. I now realise how much music and literature he introduced me to. Despite being in different countries, we linked up and made contact online several times a week.It is true that life will never be the same without him and since he left us, yes, I have felt the pain.



"Through The Edge Of Darkness" Detail
                        
                           So, looking at "Through The Edge Of Darkness" now, I am reminded of this sad loss. Rothko stated "The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their colour relationship, then you miss the point". 
                           I hope, therefore the viewer may not just engage in the colour and techniques of this work, but may also be moved by their own personal and individual experiences, whatever that may be. 
                           And I expect if Joe was here today, I sense he would say "The key point of this painting is the not the darkness at all but in fact the Light that is shining through."




                                                    IN MEMORY OF JOE CULLEN
                                                                         1957-2011


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