A lot of Art today depends heavily on cultural navel-gazing and its associated Nationalism. Is primitive sculpture (western terminology) Art? Art as we understand it from a European perspective? Primitive 'Art' certainly has a different modus operandi and, what we would call an artefeact, they would call a special object with specific purpose within that society. Westerners have an understandable curiosity for the exotic and the different. But because something is culturally different, can we call it Art?
The evolution of Western society: changing social values & technological advances should be obvious themes for the contemporary artist. Art being a sign of the times. Art as zeitgeist - a perfectly acceptable stand. Such reflection however is dependant on one's own connection with a particular countries culture and history. Connecting with a countries past in this way can enhance one's sense of the present. Artists can react with criticism, celebration, fantasy, realism and in miriad ways from this root.
But what of more universal themes such as existance and all the thoughts and emotions which generations before and after will experience? Modes of expression will differ but we will remain one sole voice inside our heads till we're dead.
My parents are both Anglo-Indians and I an an Australian living in UK for the last 22 years. I therefore have cultural uncertainty. I feel part of no country and therefore feel I have little authority to place Nationalism anywhere near the centre of my motivation to paint.
My eight recent 60 x 45 paintings were created in a frenzy, each between 23h00-04h00 of a night. Trying to put myself in a fight or flight state of mind was the ambition. The work being evidence of 'a universal desperation we feel being a locked voice within ourselves'. The universal life force we continually misunderstand. I chose portraiture as the vehicle for this.
Children draw a circle as soon as they are co-ordinated to do more than scratchy scribbling. It is said that their first psycological understanding of 'the other' is a face peering down at them from above. And we continue to remain obsessed with faces. It's the face we explain ourselves to. It's the face where we derive a sense of emotion. Two eyes, two ears, one nose and a mouth. The shape of the head and hair. The internal structure of bone and teeth. It is the interface of much personal expression.
Inside the shell's surround
In the space behind the eyes
Who knows what you will say
When you stray from your playground