New Contradictions : Beauty, fear, and the uncertain


Exhibition statement at Denbies Vineyard (Dorking) March 2012

New Contradictions : Beauty, fear, and the uncertain


1. Radical ideas, 'British' restraint

2. New Acrylics, traditional canvas

3. Bright colours, dark states

4. Naive and complex

5.Bold brushstrokes, painstaking detail

6. Accidental, deliberate

7. Risk taking and the methodology

8. eclectic influences, ,semi-closed' repetition

9. Calm perspective, the unsettling contradictory

Conclusion : Naivety, beauty,fear, panic, menace,and the tragic, embrace both the individual, society and the Artist. Here are 3 fundamental issues that symbolize our lives today:

1. The panic of uncertainty in the global markets

2.The suffering at the hands of global terrorism

3.The Arabic democratic revolution that indicted Mubarac and Gadaffi etc

I have consciously decided to represent such characteristics in human and personal terms. In these new Paintings I've tried to capture danger and beauty, fear and liberation through the filter of a naive style. I believe that 9/11 can be rendered more explanatory in all its horror, by depicting it through the root of 'Art therapy' by those children whose father's and mother's were taken by the evil of terrorism. I have chosen to show the indescribable inhumanity of that September day in New York in the child-like, because to me, the children whom I've depicted in their drawings of 9/11 have an explanation of their parents' death without the understanding of its true gruesome reality - they have the information but not the appalling emotional impact. It's this very tragedy of 'not knowing' that I believe is the most heart rendering of all the agony that Americans have endured, and stand in direct contrast to whoops of joy in parts of the Middle=East at 9/11. However, through my Paintings I hope to work through all the indigestable and horrific elements of this human carnage, without dwelling on the evil that sponsored it. Neither do I derive any voyeuristic pleasure from such violence, because I suspect there are Artists that do; there was a well known composer who saw 9/11 as 'Art'. Talk about giving Artists a bad name or what?!!

Perhaps I can rectify such thoughtless ignorant behaviour of that part of the Art community? But it doesn't need any courage to speak ones mind when Artists break their artistic 'oath' by by sensationalizing or making depraved comments to chase the headlines and line their pockets. However, such courage is illustrated in the 'Arabic Spring', where brave people endanger their lives on a daily basis to fight oppression and totalitarianism. Risking torture etc ,how can we comprehend such human fortitude? Art (specifically Painting) asks me how can I find a way to try and grasp the nature of nobility, faith, redressing injustice and the demand of the many for democracy.

Such human fear is also reflected in the international markets, where established battle-hardened brokers were in complete panic because of the unprecedented crash of 'Lehman Brothers' and the ensuing ever present uncertainty.I have decided not to exploit this as a political issue, it is a personal human fear that I wanted to depict. I've tried to personify the global financial menace that led to the credit crunch by depicting wildlife trapped in uncertainty and mutual destruction. Here fish, snakes, horses, wildcats and spiders are both prey and predators, and I've painted them with bold bright colours and 'tatooed' them on their subject with some reference to the surreal, naively painted in which I linger over detail to enhance the violence of its subject-matter.. What seems a beautiful image slowly becomes a nightmare of cannibalism as its true meaning is delayed for that very effect.

I hope that this departure from my comfort zone of seascapes, landscapes, portraits and figures is a worthwhile endeavour, and successfully explains the pain, menace and hopes of this new and terrifying era


© 2020 Stephen Hornsby-Smith

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