Ryepress has come to be synonymous with “Prints of Rye, Hastings and the East Sussex coast” and indeed this web site was established over 20 years ago in Rye with the intention of showcasing my etchings and the local views I had been doing since moving to Rye.
When I was living in Kings Cross in the 1980’s most of my work was abstract, but having worked through most of the ideas I was interested in and having exhausted the vocabulary of textures and marks I had then at my disposal I returned to figurative work with the Kings Cross St Pancras series of etchings and then on moving to Rye carried on with mainly figurative etchings and paintings.
After a short time in Rye I discovered the groynes on Winchelsea beach and have spent the last 20 years exploring their wind and wave battered textures in a succession of representational etchings and paintings. These were followed by related images of paint, rust and splintered wood on the old abandoned fishing boats at Rye Harbour and Dungeness. More recently a series of paintings exploring patterns of erosion on rocks at the base of cliffs at Rock-a-nore had led me to the conclusion that I now had a viable vocabulary of marks and textures to return to non-representational image making.
The inspiration for these paintings can come from many varied sources but what seems to be the driving theme is the repetition of form that occurs in nature whether zooming out from a cell or zooming in from a galaxy.
In these I am “zooming in” on each object to the very blueprint of its construction and destruction, exploring the minute and inconsequential worlds that hide unnoticed within the much larger and more recognisable forms that we see as rocks, rust or splintered wood. These paintings attempt to chart the individual continents, islands, and oceans that make up a patch of faded and chipped paint, the canyons and ravines in a splintered piece of wood and the faint maps of ancient coastlines etched by erosion on the exposed face of a rock.
As well as painting with brushes I also often make use of sponges, rags and tissues to apply increasingly thicker layers of oil paint which can rubbed away or ground into the surface of the painting. The history or archaeology of the marks and layers of the painting are important to me. Occasionally I will brush on a paint stripper such as “Nitromors” and scrape back the layers to uncover earlier lines and ghostly forms. Slowly thicker layers of paint are added, accidental marks are not only tolerated but actively nurtured and finally thin glazes of almost transparent primary colours are layered over each other.