Often when looking for an entry point into a
new work the Old Masters provide something to react against. This is like secret
scaffolding. I am drawn by pieces that may have the rhetoric I am trying
to convey, for example the outstretched arms of the desperate on Gericault's
'The Raft of the Medusa'. Sometimes it may be how the paint moves on a canvas,
as in the swirl of flesh in Rubens' 'The Fall of the Damned'. Whether it
is a small scene or a style that is taken over, this is isolated and
cannibalised to create new works. The Old Master may unlock a past memory, act
as a mirror to life, and it is the reworking that becomes the very medium of
Sometimes recurring themes within paintings awaken new thoughts such as mythologies. These can act as metaphors, triggering associations that help establish the mood.
In my searching dialogue with the Old Masters I am set in a place of nostalgia and retrospection, understanding from the angle of the past where I am today.