Here’s a partly abstract study of the archaic element ‘Earth’. I was asked to paint five abstracts to go with the YouTube videos of a new work by the composer Peter White. It was a difficult task: I’m not at all comfortable with the term ‘abstract’ because, for far too long, art has ‘abstracted’ itself, removing itself from the world. In the end, I compromised between the representational and the abstract.
This painting came from a photo of paddy fields, in China I think. Peter White wrote to me to explain that in his composition he thought of a ‘kind of exultation at the great beauty of the planet’ that then became more reflective ‘with a sense that, simultaneously, the earth is the ‘hard landscape’ in which we live but also the most potent manifestation of the mystery of creation’. I think the paddy field shapes work as a reflection of the ‘hard landscape’, as does the hill/mountain. I brought in the visceral and chaotic rainstorm to show the potency of the landscape.