I’ve just submitted some work for consideration for an exhibition entitled “In the Absence of Colour”. I suppose anyone who knows my work would see it as kind of appropriate. But it got me really thinking about my work, and the literal absence of colour in quite a bit of it. And then onto the subject matter, and what relationship it has with my choice of palette…..
For me, I see the absence of colour as a condition of life, the fading of peripheral vision to monochrome, the gradual blindness of weakening eyesight… My father had glaucoma, it can be hereditary, so I have to monitor that, I’m still the only member of my family who doesn’t use glasses, and they have for many years. And as my father’s health faded over the few years up to his death last year, it seemed that the colour of the world around him faded too, it was almost palpable…. I know he could hardly see, so I imagined in my work that slow rinsing of colour.
I have always used black as the foundation of my work, often being the only colour I actually apply, and I think that that may have a relationship to working in animation for years, wherein everything is rationalised by a solid black outline, and my obsession with comic books as a child…. I really see things in terms of solid, palpable horizons and devisions, and so the black outlines demand to stand out before the artwork is finished…..
Now that I am printing, there’s a lot of solid black images, and whilst I am adding flashes of colour they are fundamentally black, and of course with the “Cora” series its all about the black (http://www.paulroy.eu/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=15) flashes of red and blue notwithstanding.
When I was a kid I was given books of Durer and later Rembrandt… all thick monochrome etchings… and in my head this became the classical art of my dreams….. so it’s all there, over and over again…. black lines, black inks, black acrylic paint, defining the event horizons.
My fellow collaborators challenge me to abandon it, but my only challenge there is to try sneak it back in.
Ultimately I am trying to express the absences and emptinesses that often exist, and colour sometimes get’s just a little bit in the way…..