“The appearance of the natural world meets the experience of painting in John Dougill’s new group of paintings. In the past his paintings were a response to the changing features of the London sky: vapour trails, sunsets, and the accumulating effects of contamination, witnessed first-hand from his high window near London Bridge. Now that his view is of a newly-built block of luxury flats, he has turned to a long standing fascination with the Sea. Repetition is implicit in this subject as it is in this particular painter’s practice; ‘renewal’ is found in each new encounter. A new sequence of small paintings follows the sea as it ebbs and flows in the consciousness. He has been absorbed by the distant look to the horizon as well as the immediacy of the endless assault on the shore. Where presence is a moment of recognition, the tide-line of memory. (These fragments I have shored against my ruin).”
– Exhibition Studio 1.1. Michael Keenan
”Paris changes; nothing in my melancholy stirs … new mansards, arrondisements razed en bloc, glass, scaffolding, slum wards – all allegory! My memories are heavier than rock!”
Charles Baudelaire, ‘Le Cygne’, freely translated by Robert Lowell
The Sea, The Ocean, The River
Coming and going, receding advancing, accumulating, overlapping.
A relentless Power.
A physical pleasure and a terror.
To make a painting which is a result of contemplation, of trying to find structured ways of responding to the idea of the sea.
Itʼs horizontallity, itʼs here and there, itʼs advancing, itʼs covering.
Itʼs oiliness; solidity and thickness. ?
So that it is less to do with description, though it may have resemblance???, perhaps itʼs neverending ness, so that a painting isnʼt like a problem solved but moves toward a point of an unknown completion.
John Dougill mediates between the introspection of the horizon and the affirmation of the puncture in a series of small paintings about the sea and its pleasures and politics. These variations overlay the seascapes with brightly coloured perforations which introduce a push-and-pull between an atmospheric space and the surface. The work poignantly brings together presence and absence, appealing to the ephemeral workings of memory.
– LINE, Poppy Sebire Gallery
Horizon Edge / Sea
Horizon Edge / Vapour Trails / Scaffolds
A few Studio notes
The subject IS important (the Sea and how to image it, itʼs power, tumult, moods, dangers.
Histories, steps, of Beach area, approaching Waves, violence/quietness of Sea/Tide, Coming/receding, OR NONE OF THESE THINGS
The question of Authenticity.
The making of work based on existing images, painting and photos, that summarise or are of ones own experience.
But wanting to see work that isnʼt dependent on that, but on some quality of itʼs presence. Itʼs making, or itʼs “isness”.
That could be seen in the de Keyserʼs, the Morandi, the Dumas, at the Fortuny. Focus, the lack of overt drama or autobiography.
The simplicity and clarity.
The recognition in coming across this thing, this construct.
This recognition of quality or sense which is to do with itʼs particular language, but at the same time not quite to do with whether it is an image of something or not…
The idea of EDGE ( as opposed to T.O. ʻTerritory; ) Edge of Sea. Horizon. FRAME.
The Sea Edge ( BEACH ) not pleasure place for children, but a location of Tension. ( Slapton Sands ) , concrete invasion blocks. Erosion.
The Sea is the element we all know about. Most of us have , at some time in our lives experienced it, been in it, have enjoyed it and perhaps sometimes been frightened of itʼs ability to harm us. We know of itʼs fulminations and turbulence, and itʼs soft and insidious approach which has so often been fatal. Sometime itʼs wet on our face as we gaze at the horizon. Most of these paintings are about where we meet the sea in itʼs never ending (approach to ) assault on the land.