My paintings are about landscape under threat from the effects of climate change and human intervention. The work speculates on the future and what might be in store for landscape in a time of climactic uncertainty. The paintings ‘Erosion’, ‘Deluge’, ‘Fracture’, ‘Fallout’, ’Carbon Course’, and ‘Blight’ relate to deforestation, global warming, fracking, pollution, the green house effect and ash dieback. In the four-part painting (tetraptych) ‘How Many Miles from Barbizon?’ I reference the work of Corot and the Barbizon School to forecast how things might be if, as Mark Lynas suggests in his book ‘The God Species’, humans continue to act like God by abusing the planet through uncontrolled carbon emission and deforestation. The ‘ideal’ setting of Corot’s ‘Four Times of Day’ is the Forest of Fontainebleau, near Paris, now under threat, as many forests throughout the world are, from disease and pollution. Corot’s gentle landscape is emotively reinterpreted in a language reminiscent of John Martin’s apocalyptic ‘The Great Day of His Wrath’ in Tate Britain.(shown below) The title of the work makes reference to Jennifer Johnston’s tragic novel ‘How Many Miles to Bablyon?’ in which she compares the contested but bucolic landscape of Ireland with the contested landscapes of WW1, equating the battle field of Flanders with a biblical Babylon.
I use thin washes of paint laid down in successive layers to stain my canvases in replication of the effects of atmosphere and climate on the landscape over time. Human intervention in landscape is implied in my use of masking tape which obstructs the paint, forcing it to flow around and under, in a process which is partially unpredictable, not unlike the unpredictability of the weather.