Background/ 'Dreams of Daedalus' Series.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SERIES
This work is part of a series of images based on the character of Daedalus from Greek Mythology. Daedalus was the father of Icarus, who fell from the sky after flying too close to the sun with the wings that his father had made from feathers and wax to escape King Minos on the island of Crete.
For me, Daedalus is one of many intriguing characters to be found within myths from a variety of sources that represent a fundamental paradox between the ideas of strength and vulnerability interwoven into the fabric of human nature and experience. This idea encompasses a wider range of ideas linked to writers that have influenced me . Primarily, I am concerned with the ways in which 'vulnerability', integral as it is to the very essence of being human, is nevertheless matched by a remarkable capacity for resilience, creativity and independent action. The characters and stories therefore, being used in this group of images can be considered within this context, as a kind of first level iconography; a flexible platform to engage the viewer within a wider series of questions and ideas. This also includes attempting to draw attention to the very nature of the representation with which they are engaged in through the process of looking.
One very important issue for me in this series especially, is the quality of 'intimacy' with the viewer. To this end every aspect of the making process is important; frame, medium, scale to name just a few elements that I am concerned with in considering this. Scale alone is of tremendous significance. For example, using the scale of work between A3 and A5 it is possible to create a very different range of effects than from working on a large canvas with the same composition. Essentially, the whole effect is humbler more intimate. The subject and details come to life slowly, more gently.
The intention here therefore, is to set up a space for the viewer to experience the qualities of representation in motion rather than imposing them with the air of authority or heaviness, which I feel can often be the effect associated with oils. The qualities of scale alone are not really enough to achieve this of course and watercolour for me is the perfect solution for this purpose. The washes of watercolour while providing great depth and colour especially when used in layered glazes nevertheless retain a freshness and lightness that reveals the surface of the paper and inital marks in constructing the image. This is important to me as I am concerned with not trying to hide the elements of construction. The line of pencil is never removed when I have used it. Each layer is allowed to speak and the qualities of the black watercolour line are important to the overall effect. This is one of the qualities of 'intimacy' that I am aiming for. The basis of this is simply to share the experience of the making, (I share the same philosophy and principles when I make pots on the wheel) not overworking by trying to cover up too much of the history of construction.
To this end I wish the viewer to engage with the image in a way that is directed but never forced. The iconcography and characters in the image, each representing a range of ideas are linked like collage to the pictorial plane. Sometimes though because of the wide associations of each protagonist and the juxtaposition with other elements within the composition, these can present unexpected chemistry. This can only be 'felt' or thought when there is precisely this 'space' wherein the viewer can involve him or herself. In this way the making process and the iconography are linked; joint players in the representational process. I hope therefore, to allow the structure of the iconography to remain intact but not dominate or even interfere with the viewer's engagement and therefore allow a deeper journey for the willing and intimately engaged viewer to begin.