Impressed by Spoon


170514a Impressed by Spoon (2017) oil on canvas 180 x 100cm

I started this painting before I got the glasses for my colour blindness. The entire time I was painting it my focus was composition. Every element was put in (or removed) in order to create a composition that I found interesting, but still balanced. Somehow, despite all that, I’m not at all convinced that the result is balanced. However, in trying to achieve that, I’ve arrived at a kind of twisting ambiguous space that I find more interesting than my usual backgrounds (although the effect of it comes across better in person than on screen – the painting is almost 2 meters tall).

Here are a couple of closer detail photos. I don’t know what I think of this painting. I can’t easily place the feeling it gives me. The figure has a kind of ugly/stupid cartoonishness that reminds me a little of the CGI characters in Jordan Wolfson’s Riverboat Song video (2017),  or Matt Furie’s Pepe the Frog, but the space in the painting is something else. I like that there’s something odd and unfamiliar to me about it. That seems promising.


170514a Impressed by Spoon [detail] (2017) oil on canvas


170514a Impressed by Spoon [detail] (2017) oil on canvas




2 thoughts on “Impressed by Spoon

  1. Impressed by Spoon is satisfyingly balanced. Why this painting appeals so much to me, I think, is that it is not merely the disporting of the elements which lend it balance. The arresting gaze on that loony face totally links our vision to the head of the spoon. The ambiguity of the background transforms it into a satisfying, crucial element which exists not merely for the figure to stand on. it is dynamic and demands as much attention as the figure and the spoon.

    When I read that you can’t easily place the feeling this painting gives you, I was like YESSS. Paintings do give rise to feelings. They aren’t just exercises which might elicit analytical responses. We might be inclined and even trained to looked at them within agreed critical frameworks and as part of larger cultural contexts, but importantly they touch our senses and emotions before our intellect. And that we can’t always verbalise our feelings about them is part or the wonder.

    I can feel a treatise coming on haha.

    Thanks for including some of the closeups. Otherwise I wouldn’t have known that this painting offers your usual panache in its brushwork – something which no doubt presented its challenges on this new vast scale.


    • Glad you like it! You’re so right. Sometimes I forget that aspect of composition – what holds the gaze, what the eye rests on and returns to, etc. Which is usually whatever is most interesting about the painting in the first place. That old chestnut (that I always neglect), “content”! Regarding brushwork, the larger format provides more freedom to have fun with that. That’s one of the main reasons I like working bigger.


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