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Thought Patterns and Artistic Self Identity

Thought Patterns and Artistic Self Identity

In my formative years at art collage in the mid 70s, some of the enduring influences of the time were the Abstract colour field painters, as well as Conceptual Art. The latter amplified the contextualisation of the ideas underpinning art twinned with unorthodox means and methods of developing individual practices.

The vistas across these genres created an expansive territory for exploration and therefore the idea that it was not necessary to feel bound by given frameworks became a foremost preoccupation. Especially pertinent since I was one of Michael Craig Martins students in the formative years of his teaching, as he had joined Goldsmiths School of art in 1973.

My interest in emerging electronic and computer technologies at that time, was expressed in collagist sculptures using electronic components and my interest was coloured by the notion of the Collective Unconscious via Freud, Jung and the Surrealists.
At the time the collective unconscious was seen to be an expression of the inner nature of self often enacted through the unexpected realisation and expression of repressed thoughts and desires. The output from these ideas had previously represented an inner psychological journey of the artist.

The period was also influenced by the post structuralist ideas of inter-subjectivity through Lacan, which essentially meant everything you viewed in the world was within you and not a matter of fact, although reality or “the real” had shared agreed perceptual observations. This aligns well with Buddhist and Hindu traditions that teach the Universe is within you.

Whereas I don’t want to labour these formative years the educational experience and influences of the time have been built on through the experience of life and my relationship with my early inspirations in art have matured considerably. My pre-occupation now has shifted from the “Collective Unconscious” to “Collective Consciousness” as my life experiences and self development have taken me beyond those early Freudian and Jungian ideas.

Linking to my early interests this is now underpinned by a genuine interest in scientific investigations of the nature and development of both human and AI consciousness. But that also combines with an understanding of human consciousness as an expansive entity or source linking everything and everyone together.

As I am a Reiki master I find myself on an independent spiritual path connecting through meditation to the source of consciousness and my interest in the nature of our being inspires my art practice. My interest is in neuro-scientific ideas of the nature of consciousness itself. Many of these theories see consciousness as a series of energetic patterns although the nature of these patterns aren’t known, but are thought to be many and varied.

My link to this body of thought is to start my paintings with a mapping of my individual “Thought Patterns” in pencil before working into the drawing with several layers of acrylic paint each layer representing decision- making on space, form, geometry, line, colour and optical events which coalesce in the finished work. I have refreshed the spirit of my painting practice into an energetic expression of the nature and essence of matter as an expression of my inner self.

As part of my experiential development of life channelled through painting practice, these energetic patterns serve at a personal level as authentic expression of self and selfhood. The combination of painting and content inspiring it, is why I think of my work as Post Conceptual Abstract Painting. Basil Beattie once said to me at Goldsmiths “ you’re the sort of person who has to have an idea before you can start painting” so my natural tendency has always been to start with a concept.