Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Question 5
Regarding the 'pebble project'
('Single Striped Pebble', Oil on canvas 86 x 78 cm)


'You talked earlier about avoiding narrative meaning, and I would argue you have been successful. Instead, you have created something deliciously enigmatic and mysterious, yet your titles are dry and matter-of-fact. Can you say more about your titles? Are you tempted to call your paintings something more mysterious?'


My titles are carefully thought out. I deliberately want to give a very dry 'pointer', rather than a more enigmatic title. By giving the paintings matter-of-fact titles I hope to give the viewer a factual starting point, to allow the further reading of the image to be free and open-ended.

I have called the painting: 'Single striped pebble', because that was my starting point. It was what I was looking at, initially: a pebble with a single, thin stripe running round it.
Lets imagine some different titles for a moment. I could have called the painting: 'Large pebble found on sunny Devon beach' (already the title gives (unpleasant) emotional pointers).
I could have gone full-on Howard Hodgkin, and called it: 'Birthday cake on beach love was dead'... Or perhaps more abstractly poetic: 'Fracture of spirit'...'Emotional map #3'.... 'Meditation on divided space'. Etc. etc.

All those titles makes me cringe... I feel strongly that the only 'right' title is a factual one.
To call my paintings 'untitled' would also be wrong to my mind... If I call the painting 'untitled' it somehow suggests that I'm asking the viewer to tell me what they are looking at. I guess the irony is that we do in fact, as artists, ask that question: ...what is it you/we look at??... but I think the image needs to ask that question by itself.

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