RS Thomas Triptych
"The triptych was recently shown at the "RS Thomas
Celebration" at Bangor University and the Welsh National
Gallery in Cardiff. The painting took two years to resolve and
complete. I have over the last 5 to 10 years referred to RS
Thomas a number of times in my work but never realised the
extent of my absorption in the nature of his poetry.
I began the painting as I always do, in search of new aesthetics
or what I like to call "new life". On this occasion
however, I was in search of more. I felt the need to create a
work of greater substance, greater challenge. I began to realise
that all the previous works were somehow stepping stones towards
this one, a process you can't contrive, you can only do what you
Gradually as the triptych form was realised I began to
understand that this painting was in search of RS but I didn't
know all the questions I was setting myself and how I would
realise the answers. Many months went by when I couldn't look at
the painting never mind do anything to it. Reading more of RS
and walking those places he walked in the Welsh mountains seemed
the only way forward but it doesn't tell you how to paint, it
can only fill you with an insight, an understanding, an energy.
Even within the last few days of its completion I was ready to
scrap it, rip it up, throw it away as a contrived intervention.
The more I reflected upon the work the more I realised the
problem , that it had created its own language, its own content,
its own agenda, its own "new life" and that it was
complete but it wasn't focused on the poetry of RS Thomas but
the person, the poet, the artist.
The questions however, are still there: how can you begin to
resolve reality in abstraction, how can you hope to come close
to something specific with the non-specific, how can you realise
something about another human being with paint on a two
dimensional surface but of course you can, its just that you
cant plan it, it comes when you are ready and that's when you
least expect it."