This piece represents models of Frankenstein’s monster and his bride wrapped in plastic and mounted on pegboard. Are they for sale or the treasured possessions of a collector? Alternatively, if this is a portrait of a marriage it doesn’t seem to be a happy one; husband and wife are permanently sealed off from one another, staring out at the world in different directions, eyes never meeting. Considering that they are both re-animated corpses perhaps a happy marriage was a bit too much to ask for.
These two footballers, icons of dynamism and endurance, are held together in permanent conflict in a plastic carrier bag. Their skills and strengths are irrelevant, their stasis is permanent. Who is the shopper or collector who robbed them of their freedom? What prisoners do you have in your collection and when are you going to set them free?
‘Unsealed’ is my attempt to look at my relationship with American pop culture from the 40s and 50s, long before my birth. The imagery from this period holds an enduring fascination for me which dates back to my early childhood. I think it was its rare, exotic nature that appealed to me so much; Neil Gaiman described his childhood feeling that American comic books were like ‘postcards from Oz’. The subjects of the paintings are roughly divided into two groups: defiant, heroic figures ‘busting loose’ and horror comic victims being dragged down. This division echoes my thoughts about the pleasures and dangers of thinking about the past: it can easily trap us but a true understanding of it is essential to liberate us in the present.
The title of his series has a threefold meaning for me: it refers to the literal tight hold that the bulldog clip has on the comic book clippings but also the fairground cry heard when the ride begins – things are going to get exciting! Most significantly for me, the title refers to the tight grip that many of us have on the past and its artefacts. The paintings represent the clippings of an unknown collector, grouping together themed comic book images, trying to make sense of the past and how it may affect us in the present, as we all are in one way or another.
I’m still thinking about these images but it appears that each of the ‘pedestrians’ are confronted by something that to them seems like an obstacle but could actually be traversed as easily as the terrain they’ve already covered. Each yellow marking (road or playground?) is an arc of a circle, perhaps part of the same circle. Half of the animals find themselves inside the circle looking out, the other half outside looking in. Of course, there is no difference between being inside or out, despite their apparent wish to cross the yellow threshold. The lumpy, road-like surface come from many layers of paint built up over a number of years in my studio.