The nature of reality and the truth within the image is an ongoing concern of the work. The work addresses paintings struggle to overcome its objecthood by simulating psychological and social spaces or situations coupled with sites of great historical and archeological discovery, usually within a landscape. The tension between their stylised and painterly surfaces forces the issue onto the surface of the painting itself. The uneasiness between the physicality of the paintings and the scenes depicted represents fluid realities. The work questions ideas around representing an embellished truth. The paintings themselves question notions of ritual and fakery and address the concept of discredited discovery vs. true discovery.
The term ‘psychological essentialism’ describes the belief that some objects are often defined by a so-called unique essence and that this elusive ‘essence’ can only exist beyond our ability to perceive. This mysterious invisible matter imbues inert objects with their own extraordinary life-force. Within the work moon rocks are unearthed, gold is panned and beliefs and truths are shattered over time.
Much of the work for ‘Hokum’ is based around the archeological dig at the ‘Shanidar Cave’ in Iraq and the writings of archeologist Ralph S.Solecki. This pioneering archaeological dig by Solecki, taking place from 1957 -1961, lead to the discovery of nine skeletons of Neanderthals. The most intriguing aspect of this dig was the findings which revealed that Neanderthals cared for their elderly and sick and buried their dead with flowers. This discovery regarding flower ritual was considered one of the most significant archeological findings of its day and marked a huge breakthrough in how we perceived the behavior of our ancestors. It has since been proven that these flowers are a modern contaminant sadly discrediting much of Solecki’s life’s work.
This account is coupled with a continuing interest in the moon and its many varying cultural narratives, in particular the Apollo 11 mission. This mission marks the furthest distance man has traveled and was considered to be both a great leap forward in space travel and a military maneuver. The moon landing itself is beset with conspiracy theories, which range from the absurd to the somewhat plausible. The moon in the work signifies a kind of motif or metaphor to which we attach meaning and narratives but remains ultimately an inanimate celestial body. The core focus of this body of work; how we believe and how we collectively create meaning.
Image: 'Blue Planet' Mixed media, 2012