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  Chris May

My narrative paintings follow on from ideas of using the mirror as a motif which denigrates the gazer as blinkered or blind, seeing nothing but oneself (trapped within - unaware of the outside world). These paintings attempt to represent the impotence to all other concerns, taking vanity to an extreme condition.

Recently my work shares a similar reflective quality, having exchanged the mirror for moon imagery - inspired from such sources as Larkin's poem, "Sad Steps". This cold face stares back at us - a constant reminder of our preoccupation with mortality and like the mirror, provides nothing except our self indulgent selves.

It is often said that artists, whatever their medium use the one/same theme throughout their lives. If that applies to me I would say it is all about communication - or more precisely, lack of communication. My past work has figures or heads in isolation, (they are now being framed in boxes to further cut them off) using such motifs as mirrors for narcissists or using metaphors for blindness etc. The latest motif is the moon's face which arises largely from Larkin's poem "Sad Steps". He writes of a cold face which stares back - reflecting his youth/reminding him of his mortality.

I like this idea that a moon has so many connotations such as old pop songs and romantic poetry, yet all that the face is our own reflection staring back at us, showing us nothing but ourselves - we see nothing outside ourselves. Millions of years ago the moon of course was once of our world and is now an independent sphere no longer a part of us - a metaphor in a metaphor there. The moon is a beautiful sight which in fact awes and inspires us - this Larkinesque interpretation shows us only part of what we are - it would be trite of me to declare anything which sums up the whole human. Any work of art is only a small detail of the whole human experience.

One of my many fears has always been this idea of being abandoned in outer space - the stuff of science fiction nightmares. To be thousands of miles from a human voice or face, just floating in the vast void. Again I am fascinated with all aspects of space, the beauty and scientific ideas and interpretations and science fiction films and novels. Yet this moon is alone up there - man doesn't even visit anymore, it's the ultimate clichéd desert island. So any time I use the moon image it represents for me a viewer's gaze staring at oneself and being cut off from the world - there is no communication, no love for others - a displacement from the outside world.


C.V

Born in 1968

Foundation course, Falmouth School of Art

B.A. in Art and Related Art, Chichester University


AWARDS

2003 First Prize Winner, Stride Open Exhibition, Chichester Centre of Arts

 


SOLO EXHIBITIONS


2004 West Stoke House

2003 Watching the Moon Landings, Havant Art Centre

2002 Harbour Lights, Southampton


GROUP SHOWS

2004  

Ashcroft Art Centre, Fareham

Blank Canvas Design, Affordable Art Fair, London

Brighton Art Fair

Chichester Centre for the Arts

Four Man Show, West Stoke House, Chichester

2003  

Battersea Art Fair

Brighton Artists Gallery, Brighton

Foundation Programme, Synergy Gallery, Brighton

Gallery Kaleidoscope, London

Stride Open Exhibition, Chichester Centre of Arts

Three Man Show, Chichester Centre of Arts

2002  

Battersea Art Fair

Mountbatten Gallery, Portsmouth, England

2001  

Lymington Art Gallery and Museum

2000

Christmas Exhibition, L'Artichaut Gallery, Chichester

Edes House, Chichester

Towards the Millennium, Artsway Art Gallery, Sway, England

1999  

Edes House, Chichester, England

It's May, L'Artichaut Gallery, Chichester

Diverse January Show, Fisherton Mill, Salisbury, England



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