Freedom Abstracts (2021-present)

Around three years ago I followed a rare urge and began what has now become a series of paintings I can’t seem to put down. The urge was to paint large blocks of colour on canvas, something which at the time was rather inexplicable but to which now I can reflect on with some degree of understanding. I clumsily titled these paintings ‘Freedom Abstracts’, which was always just meant as a working title only but has ended up sticking around (something else to be analyzed here). So what are these paintings about, where did they come from and why am I making them?

In 2019 my wife and I decided to take a six month sabbatical and spend time with family in Brazil (my wife is from Rio de Janeiro). That was in the December and by March 2020 the world had gone into a Covid induced stand-by. Our flights back to London were canceled and we would be staying, for the foreseeable future, in Brazil. At the time I was mainly working in my sketchbook and writing, until we found ourselves a more permanent place to live. That permanent place ended up being my wife’s father’s cattle farm on the borders of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states. We traveled a lot, driving in between Rio, the farm and São Paulo, all the while passing houses and buildings vibrantly painted in bold colours — reds, greens, pinks — I was subconsciously being inspired while driving past them. Add to this my new found amount of space and I was soon ordering large canvases and lots of colourful paint to scratch the itch I had developed to make large scale paintings. Coming from working in small makeshift studios while I lived in London to having so much space to create large works felt incredible. It was so liberating that I didn’t want to jeopardize any of those feelings trying to analyze what I was doing. I’d come from studying and getting very into conceptual art on the MA Fine Art course I took in 2015 and everything I had done since was always born out of a strong conceptual idea. I never really just worked to portray how I was feeling or because I had to express something internally. So I wanted to just let this urge settle in, see what I could produce and where it might possibly lead.

Read more here on my Medium page.