Associate artist at Glyndebourne
What is it that brings this work together beyond my synaesthetic responses to the deep romantic passions of love and loss that repeatedly flow out of operatic librettos and music? I have explored these attempted pictorial equivalents in the conversely static mediums of woodcut, etching and a few paintings, all made in response to a couple of seasons of programming in 2020 and 2021.
Every image in all you see here is depicted at night or dusk and twilight, at about the time in summer that you come out of the Glyndebourne opera house.
The surrounding darkness heightens the iridescence of the internal light sources in each picture in a similar fashion to the way light is emitted from the sets on stage, framed for us by the proscenium arch. The figure and ground relationships are simplified, almost as if they were vast Indian miniatures, with backgrounds flattened acting as hangers, their saturated colours hinting at internal desires and conflicts.
I have tried not to steal directly from any designer’s schema or costumier’s clothing with the exception of Don Pasquale and L’elisir d’amore, both of which, as seen repeated productions, seemed to fix their specificity in my brain like the afterglow on the retina of a phosphorescent flare. It has been the music and the pulling of the heart strings and the unbearable pain of these stories that have been the driving force here behind my pictures.
A pointless thing perhaps – for me the tingle factor in my world of painting and printmaking is a good way down the pecking order when it comes to the hairs standing up on the back of the neck. How can I possibly compete with music and the human voice, with the conjuring tricks of stage light, and the drama of lives lived to extremis unfolding through choreography? It has been such a delicious thing to try and do so nevertheless, and to have this space to show you the results of my efforts. Thank you Glyndebourne.