This is a collection of paintings mainly sourced from a recent stay in Mangersta, on the South West corner of Lewis.
The title is taken from text from both the Old and New Testament; the book of Ezekiel and the book of Revelation*. Why? Firstly, because it fits the body of work. Also, it speaks of volume, weight, choral power, a coming together, a gathering. Many, not one, yet sounding as one.
Most of the paintings were done on location. At times, the whole experience can feel like a trip to the theatre. I arrive, I wait. The performance hasn’t begun yet. Then, stage left, the drama unfolds (why is no one else watching?).
An audience of one, the way I like it. The performance could almost be just for my benefit. Cataclysmic seas, blasting gold light, sheet metal clouds, a dark engulfing, the pounding onslaught.
And the constant sense that this is Act One, Act Two has still to come. Richard Bergh, the Swedish essayist and painter said: ‘…in the North, art is not a product of happiness: it is a product of longing”. The source of that longing may vary – Heaven, Eutopia, a Golden Age – but the premise is accurate. What’s around us is an unfolding, a precursor, a forerunner, a hint, a prelude; or as is written on each sign in every lay-bye in the Highlands, a Passing Place.
Part of the magnetic appeal of the sea is that it bears a universal imprint. It is always the same, yet it is never the same. A bit like us. Or like fire. Or music. Or an atom. We know what’s going to happen, yet when it happens, we are hooked. How can something so full of repetition be so rich in variation?
And then the retreat, the way home, pulling back, refuge from the barrage, from the saline sledgehammer, pile driving the broken headland.
What was that all about?
So here I am, trying. Trying what? Trying, with paint and canvas, to understand that there’s more. The nearness of it all.
*(‘And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters.’ Ezekiel 42v2. Also; ‘I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters. Revelation 19v6).