A Pile of Toy Soldiers
107 x 122 cms 2004
I collect toy soldiers. I even look forward to Christmas just for the toyshops. The image for this painting had been stuck in my head for nearly a year - a knotted, random pile of dull green plastic - but other ideas kept getting in the way.
Finally, jammed up on brown landscapes, I tossed all the army stuff I could find into a heap, stirred it round a bit and then painted it on top of that great slab of red. Such fun, but I did get stuck with the back walls.
However, my studio is a 20 x 30 foot tin shed (lined and air conditioned) on an old concrete base, with the most wonderful cracks through it. I have been wanting to use one of those cracks ever since I moved in, and there it is.
When the painting was first shown, the general opinion at the opening seemed to be that this is a metaphor for war, which it isn't. Because painting is a visual medium, words, spoken or thought, erect barriers to a clear perception. The visual idea, as I worked on it, was of a knot, a difficulty, held inside a strongly structured, but disintegrating corner but what that 'means' I have no idea at all.