At first glance my paintings may appear to be of the ubiquitous, some would even say clichéd, personal and aesthetic geography of the rural/urban littoral that has become a suitable subject of contemporary painters and photographers: the inherent picturesqueness (roughness and irregularity) of the abandoned, derelict and the unplanned spaces being a virtuous (politically as well as aesthetically) subject matter for the artist.


I admit I like these places, yet there does tend to be this surfeit of subject matter.  So rather than go hunting for these already ‘turned over’ sites I make my own model landscapes. The Classical ruins and abandoned cars make reference to Le Courbusier’s essence of ‘modern’ and his ‘new spirit’ but can’t help invoking the nostalgia that seems inherent in new build suburbia: housing estates sporting Corinthian and Tuscan columns and mock-Georgian frontages with neatly cropped lawn sweeping up to the pile.  The models are built as low-tech follies of my own imagination and experiences so as to achieve a certain verisimilitude when viewed through a camera lens. 


The camera is used as mediator to frame and ‘capture’ the views via the photographic print.  So whilst the photographic print becomes the subject matter this is not to ennoble or question the role of the photograph. It is merely to facilitate painting the point of view with least distortion or subjectivity. The painting becomes a point of technical default where the ‘pleasing’ brush mark is removed as much as possible, along with any Romantic notions of the painterly landscape and that which may draw attention to the painted surface.  The paintings are rooted in the day to day exigencies and tussle of painting; they are as much about how they have been painted as what – the photographic (and conceptual) ‘point of view’ - has been painted.




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© Paul Collinson