Dark Figure

September 17 th 2010

Oil on Canvas
24" x 48"

Patrick Heron once said that paintings are silent. This painting is one of a series of paintings, drawings, and prints I have been doing around different kinds of shadow and shadows of different kinds of things.

The idea of visual metaphor is appealing. It is good to have conversations about painting but explanations do tend to fall short. Many experiences prompt the acts of drawing and painting. The growing painting itself stirs thoughts and memories and intimates what it might be about. My interest in the transience of shadows alerts me to other references to shadows. Would it help if I say that while drawing these themes I had been listening to Sinead O'Connor's album Theology and her song based on Psalm 91? It may mislead you into thinking that I am illustrating Bible texts. I am not. Shadows of the figure, rather than inanimate objects, had emerged and after completing many drawings I remembered the words she used to paraphrase the text.

So you need not fear
What comes looking for you in the dark.
And you need not fear
What comes looking for you in the day.
And you need not fear
What takes everybody else away.

I think this series of paintings may be about fear but that could be one of many conditions they evoke and I may be mistaken. I need my good neighbours to help me out.

Let's just hope the painting makes sense as a painting.

Topics: Arts

Peter S.Smith has been Head of the School of Art and Design, Kingston College, since 1983.