CIRCLING THE PREY: some statements by the artist on the nature of his work, and his motivations. The statements will never encompass his practise fully - so this collection has been called 'Circling the Prey'. The statements may be contradictory. They will doubtless evolve over time. There will probably be a thread running through them all.
The works of art will continue to tell their story their way.
Commonly, ‘style’ is a narrow formal range, readily identified with an individual artist, and a mark of artistic maturity.
Style is often closely associated with ‘originality’.
A style assists the commercial process.
I do not have a closely defined ‘style’: I have worked in, and continue to work in, a wide range of formal approaches: viz, the ‘Art Series’ ’ I produce. Each series amounts to a ‘style’ in itself.
I am not alone in working across styles, or series, as an artist: I might name Picasso and Gerhard Richter as two prominent examples. Whether my oeuvre is wider in scope, or formal approach, than often practiced remains to be seen.
My breadth of approach would indicate a searching: I have always felt I am searching for the truth.
Over time I believe indetifying aspects of my ‘touch’, my person, will reveal themselves across my forms, however varied the forms may be at first glance.
STATUS OF A WORK
What is the status of an individual work of my oeuvre? Certainly to ‘show’ something: itself, basically. What I don’t set out to do is convey a ‘meaning’: I have in mind a formal approach, which has coalesced over time, and which will tend to have its own formal constraints, or ‘rules’; and I work within these, in the wind of creation. I am probably pursuing some ever nearing to the truth, as I would understand, or ‘circling the prey’, through that formal means, and the outcome is what you see: it is an achievement. So: the formal constraints are of interest in themselves: the art-works are their children, also of interest in their own way.
The viewer will know that I have spent time making the item. But I don’t wish to guide the viewer towards a higher plain, as a ‘seeing guru’: I wish to provide an opportunity for a viewer to find their own path to truth: whether by contemplation of the art work, or (preferably?) by consideration that, since I have created something, this thing, then so could they, or at least to understand that every human has this potential.
There are indeed areas of concern that lie behind my works: part of the gestation of a series or individual work may be a real-world concern, or an intellectual concern, or a formal concern. These may indeed turn out to be of interest, despite any claims I make.
STATUS OF THE ARTIST
So the ‘artist’, me, in all this, is certainly a creator, but a creator from the ground, not from a pinnacle. My driver is not special skills and insights: it is a concern to make examples in the world that show how a path to truth can be sought, and travelled.
IS MY ART ANY GOOD?
Is my art any good, or is my dedication any good? Criteria remain illusive. Original; influential . . . Relevant, taboo-breaking, loud, big, shocking. Derivative . . . Artistic aim achieved. Nice. Colourful. Beautiful. Thought-provoking. Baffling. Confusing. Puzzling. Empty. Political. Formal. Minor. Major. Dark. Light.
So, is my art any good?
A statement by the artist 2013
What is my art about?
An art object is a thing in its own right. An art object is an achievement; an end in itself. A work of art need not refer to anything but itself, but will tend to speak of the manner of its coming into being and will likely suggest worldly apparition. An art object need not be all-encompassing: it might constitute as much as one leaf in the woods.
I am moved to investigate certain phenomena, amongst which: integration of different patterns; machine vs hand-making, as a measure of human-kind; spirals; the dreaminess of clouds; spectrum colours as an idea of completeness; colouring, as beautiful result, as meaning enough; beauty or worth in discarded items, notably offcuts from my woodwork; the art in the everyday, notably joinery; making canvasses from the ground up – making the stretchers starting with sawn timber, cutting traditional joints, stretching, sizing and priming the canvas, using or adapting traditional recipes of pigment, filler, oil, resin, egg, wax, to give my paintings an integrated, object quality - these works are traditional and avowedly contemporary; investigating vitality in imagery involving random actions; attempting to address current events through art; calm; simple means'.
My work provides an example of what can be done, of what has come out of my life: vicariously attractive perhaps, even beautiful, intriguing, sometimes colourful, but hesitating before offering great revelation or insight. The true value of each piece is its mere existence. I accept that aspects of my moral make-up and my time/place identity may well show in my works of art, as will the facts of their manufacture, to represent something of these traditions, while presenting inescapable associations of real events and eternal truths.
'Staples' 2013; staples on primed plywood; 6 x 6.25 inches
Some musings by the artist 2013
A look round contemporary art:
Let’s start by bicycle: this is, after all, the age of the bike. The parody of the modern artist offered by Tony Hancock in ‘The Rebel’, cycling the paint over his canvas comes to mind. Notions of ‘modern art’ being unknowable still exist fifty years later.
Duchamp’s bicycle wheel in forks, placed upside down in the seat of a stool, acts like a gauntlet for the tussles of art: the found or the made, tradition or innovation, the hand or the machine, aesthetics or ideas.
Things have not settled down.
Under the tossed waves of high-profile art flow the ever-present depths of tradition – popular perception, non-expert activity, traditional means’, forms and situations of art.
Skill at hand-manipulation is variously praised and denigrated; the artist as prime-maker, or as orchestrator of the actions of others is argued; the ubiquitous apparition of technology-originating imagery and object leaves much art copying those modes, if only to be seen by eyes so stringently attuned.
Painting by finger, by breath, by brush, sponge, spray-gun, inkjet.
Emotion on a surface, or none?
Emotion as content, or none?
The Great question of creation as content, or the great questions of a regime, or the smaller questions of the social universe, or the solipsistic questions of the individual artist – all do their stately ballet.
Another broken taboo?
Painting is or isn’t dead!
Who will buy?
'Self-portrait: schnell imbiss/calculator' 1987; marker pen on polythene, cardboard tray, calculator; 4.25 x 6.5 inches
The Artist's style
An artist is commonly known by a 'style' - a concisely defined formal range. And however far we reach, we can not embrace infinity.
We are all limited.
What I do as an artist comes from deep inside; I don't plan it. I might design, once an idea has wormed its way to the surface; I certainly act carefully in the making process; but I maintain the freedom to hop across a wide playground of form and posture.
Who is the 'me' in all this?
What does a viewer get to allow them to say 'that's a Guy Martyr' ?
I know I feel the same about all my works; and my touch is the same in all my works. I am confident that my 'handwriting' becomes evident over time: it can be seen in the touch.
Look carefully; look for my touch.