Approaching the burning ghats of Varanasi through the narrow winding streets leading to the edge of the Ganges, you press yourself into any available small recess or doorway as another funeral party passes by. The deceased held high on their shoulders, wrapped in fine materials, accompanied by singing and prayers. On arrival, the body will be dipped five times into the river, representing the five elements, then left on the steps while the water drains away. It is then placed on the pyre and lit from the embers of the eternal flame. This small fire has reputedly been kept burning by the descendants of the same family for many centuries.
This recent series of work was inspired by a trip to Varanasi and many previous journeys to India. The structure of the timbers lent a strong abstract motif to many of the paintings. Likewise, thoughts and ideas based around samsara and moksha gave shape to the composition and design, stained with the memories and experience of colour and place. The work continues to be less about finish as about process, a process, in part, about not knowing, one that may reveal something new and unexpected. The picture finds itself in the mysterious and compelling process of being painted. The visual language is bold and simple, using various large tools with generous, direct application of paint. Texture breaking and activating surface, a simpler arrangement and form of expression. A balance between action and stillness, light and dark, the seeking of infinite variety in repetition, through accident and chance. Intuitive, a felt response to these timeless ceremonies a meditation on the universal human condition that perhaps binds us closer in this ever more fractured world.