"I AM HID"  (2001-2)

A continuation from the abstract figure works of 2001.

Whilst my work has always had an element of placing a figure in the landscape a change emerged particularly in 2002 which saw a closer personalisation. I have always kept "me" out of these works, they have always been representations of something "other", a presence which has often been non-figurative. Having said that there is a large personal element in these paintings, I've long felt that everything an artist produces is a kind of self-portrait.

Two phrases came to prominence to indicate how the work was changing:

I Am Hid: a phrase William Blake used to describe his own utter separation from the fashionable art world (Reynolds and co.) of his time. I love the poetry in these 3 short words, and they say a lot about my temperament and the direction my work is heading.

My Incursion: the word "Incursion" intrigues me. An early title for "The Ingleborough Series" was "13 Gentle Incursions". That word usually suggests a hostile entering into a foreign territory. As a walker and searcher I aim to leave no traces, yet all the time the landscape is intensely working itself on me, pushing itself on me. If anything it is the hostile force and I am nothing to it. I like that, I like entering a place and allowing it to influence me to the point where I seem to cease to exist, and the landscape is all.

But another angle on this phrase is the notion of fading into death - can we go into death in any way other than a passive one? The notion of "My Incursion" suggests a forceful, purposeful route into death, to the next stage. This is expressed through the figure in an intimate space, as this work has been for some time, but as ever the accent is in no way on morbidity but on hope for renewal.

"Don't Find Me" is a possible third title for these works; a wish to merge into the earth, remaining undisturbed forever.

I'm reading about and looking at pictures of mummies at the moment, particularly South American ones, the care which these peoples treated their dead and their conviction of a life beyond impresses me greatly. Did they fear death or was it accepted as a necessary progression?