Artist's Commentary: These paintings have gone through quite a few changes to become what they are today, and I think you'd be amazed to see what they looked like earlier, and maybe I'll show you what lies under the surface, literally, of what you see here.
In fact it was quite simply an experiment with crackling paint which didn't work out as I was hoping and they lay in this sad neglected state for quite a few months as I moved house and wondered from time to time what to do with them.
In the end I decided to abandon my original idea altogether, which was probably a good move as I've totally forgotten what it was, and head off in another direction. Having said that, there are hints of what the original pieces looked like peeking through what looks like the base layer, the very dark one, but which isn't in fact at all, which is nice.
I feel good about these pieces, because I feel they are a new and much needed direction after changing my painting conditions utterly with the move. This idea came firmly from my new 'head quarters', as it where, and so I feel like I'm making progress and moving on, without which a nasty stagnation can set in.
'You are here', or Vous êtes ici in French, is something you often see on maps in the street, and it started to make me smile when I imagined all these lost people, including myself plenty of times, desperately looking for those three precious words and that little coloured dot in order to suddenly feel sare and reassured that they are not completely lost. But the thing I like most, if you take away the context of the map, is the inherent ludicrousness of searching for a sign which tells you what you already know: that you are, in fact, here!
In truth, you can only ever be here, can't you, in a similar way to the only real time we can ever really experience being the present.
Which in turn got me to thinking of various possible questions, humorous or ironic or philosophical or existential or ideally all four, which could logically follow on from such a curt and blindingly obvious declaration: "You are here".
The more I thought about it, the more perfectly possible sequiturs jumped into my head. In fact, over and above the four which were amongst the ones I've used here, I think I have enough material for ten or twenty more pictures on the same theme, which cuold be good really, because they will have that all important link which people do tend to like, but will also be all different, and if I play around with the colours and design a bit too this could be a fun project I reckon. The ultimate reward will be if people stop long enough to actually look, literaly behind the big 'Vous êtes ici' slogan to realise that there are these follow-on questions lurking in the background, taking the work, and hopefully the experience, to a whole new level.
Another way of playing with this is the amusing philosophical connundrum of phrases like 'You are here...', where it is clearly not true at the moment of my writing it, in which case you could correctly say that I was lying as I wrote... Similarly, I could write 'I am here' which would be true (as I wrote it), but which would then become untrue by the time someone else read it without me breathing down their neck.
Maybe we could say that the words 'You are here', forgetting the map context in which they are usually found of course, are only but always true for the reader at the time of reading, if not for the write at the time of writing. Which would suggest that the words, or at least the meaning of the words, only exist when there is someone there to observe them. Which then brings us on to the further philosophical brain-numb-er of whether anything really actually exists if we are not there to experience it directly.
Ooff! Are you still there? Or here, if you prefer...
Special Note: The Vous Êtes Ici paintings are part of my 'infini2' (infinity squared) concept. They are painted on nine 10.8 cm x 10.8 cm tiles and don't have a fixed configuration. Starting with any of the small square tiles in the middle position, for example, a complete and coherent painting can always be created by putting the others together like a jigsaw.
Any of my infini2 paintings on canvas can be played with in this way, even once the painting is finished, thanks to a special frame and mounting system. So you can, if you wish, create your own, unique painting, and change it around whenever you want. For more information on the infini2 concept, including a demonstration video, go to the infini2 page here. or click the image below.
Let me know what you think - comments welcome as ever!