‘A working Model of the Universe’
Every one of my paintings attempts to tell a story. I supposed some, like this one, have a strong narrative element. I painted this in 2002 and as such it is the oldest painting in the show. At the time, it was an attempt to create a balance in the various elements of the painting. I had started the background of the trees which was inspired by a visit to the lake district. The people and objects came along when the landscape was not enough to convey what I wanted to say.
In part the painting looks at how we make sense of the world. Gravity; relevance; appropriateness; relationships, beauty. On the other hand, one could say that the painting is an attempt to simply balance the visual elements. Like most of my narrative pieces, there is an idea, but normally no plan as such. Each element is like a piece of a puzzle, which is formed very much as a reaction to what is one the canvas already. The painting emerged slowly. Lots of things did not work and had to be repainted. I settled for what you now see after a few days of painting. Some paintings are simply never resolved for the painter. This is one of those paintings.
The title, ‘A Working Model of the Universe’ which is also the title of this exhibition, came to mind, because as I was struggling to make sense of the elements of the painting, I realised that it really did not matter. In the painting all elements make sense one way or another; we can justify their bizarre positioning ( see the tower on the head-or the suspended model of the sun), we can do whatever we like. It all makes sense, because it does not have to. In painting we are not constrained by the laws of physics, or logic. Whatever we create does not have to function; no catastrophe will befall us, no damage done. It is after all a working model of a universe that only exists on the surface of the canvas and in the mind of the artist.
There are various symbols and references hidden in the painting. I am a great believer that we all see something else, particularly where symbolism does not adhere to known norms. So this painting is really about you the viewer, your perceptions and ideas. Hopefully this and the rest of the pictures in the exhibition will create a story unique to you.
George Sfougaras May 2012
Tags: art method ideas narrative