Thoughts on my Recent Work

In my recent work, I aim to evoke spiritual sensation by physical means. I am guided by powerful allusive forces which emerge in the process of painting.

The crazed, all-over topographical fields of color and collage continue to be the starting points for my paintings but now increasingly symbolic drawing is introduced by means of illusionistic arabesque lines and shapes, by cut- out sections and shading. The character of this symbolic use of colour and drawing is often echoed in the titles of my work; however, I arrive at this symbolism, which has largely been the domain of representational painting, through an observation of the painterly process, rather than by a direct observation of the external world.

I paint a form of topographical landscape by painting lengths of canvas which are poured and dried very much as I imagine an evaporating pond in the earth’s crust. My paint formulations and pourings are custom mixed and controlled by viscosity, levels, placement, rates of flow and drying, manipulated by hand and natural forces, making their resultant character partake in the earthly and human properties of their physical and aesthetic composition.

I could be described as an abstract landscape painter, pouring paint over topography as I do; but since I manipulate the surface, colour and the imagery of the work far beyond the vocabulary of the paint itself to arrive at pictorial possibilities, such a description would be an over simplified introduction to my work. I do let the paint flow, and the troughs that contain it play a role in forming the compositions of the paintings. These are the starting points from which the paintings develop. The dried canvas formations resulting from my ‘set up’ harbor a complexity and psychological range far greater than these so- called beginnings of ‘natural forces’, so much so that my paintings take on an ‘other’ existence. Through the ongoing manipulation of the painting process and my artistic will, the character and conclusion of each work is guided and determined.

I take the exploratory approach to the painting medium by making custom paint formulations in order to afford myself a greater range of mark making and expression. The pictorial composition is made by following a directional geometry in the pouring of the paint, the placement of the collage and the chosen colour contrasts. The process of painting continues in layers, is manipulated throughout the drying and cropping phases and in the further collaging and hand painting. The process is guided by my experiencing of what each work requires. My ultimate objective is to fulfill each painting’s expressive potential.

These new works are inspired by the shading and dramatic colour contrasts found in the work of Malevich, De Chirico and Dali among others; together with the painting, cutting and collaging in the work of Jackson Pollock.

My goal through the act of painting is to arrive at an equally fresh and personal vision. I want my work to be uplifting and animate the human spirit.

Graham Peacock, Edmonton, 2 October 2003