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Underside by Neil Moore
Like many others I live a life of quiet desperation and my studio is the refuge where I use painting to unravel life’s confusion and hopefully figure out why some experiences distress, intrigue or amuse me. I appreciate and enjoy (sometimes) many aspects of life but it is people that really fascinate and perplex me.
Above: Neil prepares for an exhibition at the Deasil Gallery, Leamington Spa starting March 11th, 2017.
I don’t know how what I do relates to contemporary art and frankly I don’t care. Naturally it would be nice to know that other people find it “interesting” but, to be honest, it isn’t why I do it. My feeling is that when we care less about winning the affection of our audience and instead focus on our individual creativity, more people will be affected by what we do.
Tenebrae by Neil Moore
My reservation about contemporary art world stems from what I see at the present time, which appears to me to be so cerebral that its visual qualities have become secondary. Is this because of societal change? Have we become to expect everything ‘now’ and are too lazy to commit to anything arduous? For instance Art Education – the theorizing about visual “Art” in British art schools is, I think, leading to a worrying loss of practical skills. Sadly the resulting conceptual art produced often sounds much better than it looks. Is this because the ‘wannabe’ artists lack both the technical experience and the visual education to create their ideas?
“They have stopped teaching what can be taught and try to teach what can’t be taught”. (David Hockney on Art Schools)
The Fatalist by Neil Moore – Oil paint on canvas 28″ x 20″
I am sure that this has partly arisen because of financial pressures – it has always been costly to teach craft skills both because of equipment needed and because the student groups have to be smaller. Tragically because of the decline over many years in the number of these types of courses there is now a lack of those with the necessary skills to teach. Ironically this has coincided with the massive increase in the costs of higher education which has led students to demand durable skills training rather than the ephemeral attitudinising that mostly prevails. I am hopeful that upward pressure from students will in future arrest this downward spiral.
Dreamer by Neil Moore
I find it hard to fault the eminent Victorian art critic John Ruskin’s assertion that making art should employ “The head, the heart and the hand”. While I believe its possible to have craft without art I don’t think that you can have art without craft. I am not advocating a wholesale return to the traditional “Atelier” or apprentice system – when it was only when you had learned the craft that you were expected to suddenly awaken your dormant imagination. There is a current imbalance between nurturing imaginative potential and learning the skills necessary to express ideas. Fortunately humanity, from our cave dwelling ancestors to the present, has never been content with mere existence. We have this inate desire to create and (as celebrated by this website) the skill and imagination to make artworks is irrepressible.
Baptism of Fire by Neil Moore
Perhaps I am suffering “conceptual” fatigue? I don’t want you to think that I am naive or wilfully ignorant – as you will have gathered I can pontificate with the best of the them. Paradoxically I have always thought myself to be a conceptual artist. I don’t see things and want to paint them but I attempt to create visual metaphors that explore my life experiences (and hopefully gain some insight). My images are purely intuitive. Ideas may be ‘screened’ to avoid clichés or sentimentality but generally I don’t analyse too much. They then reveal something of myself to myself (sometimes, embarrassingly, things that I would prefer not to have known). Despite the apparent clarity, they are not intended to be taken literally. The realistic appearance of the paintings (originally pursued because that is the way I visualised things in my mind’s eye) has become essential to the subject in another way. I have realised that the clarity of the style is curiously deceptive in that the viewer is often lulled by the apparent familiarity of the style into making false assumptions about the imagery. I have found that in art, as in life, things are rarely what they seem and I have become fascinated by the way that clarity and simplicity can disguise a complexity that reveals itself only gradually.
Spiegel Im Spiegel by Neil Moore
My experience of life, in common with almost everyone, is unremarkable. In general we share the same concerns and although I paint to understand – not to be understood, I hope that my paintings are in some way contribute some insight by reflecting the society in which we all live.
Air Chrysalis by Neil Moore
Severance by Neil Moore
Scission by Neil Moore
Disaffection by Neil Moore
Longing by Neil Moore
Excresence by Neil Moore
Disorientation by Neil Moore