I sometimes think the world will be a much better place when all the oil is gone - somehow I can’t see people fighting over sunshine and wind. In the meantime the oil is running out, and as our society is so utterly dependant on it, it seems inevitable that the governments and businesses that control our world shall fight over every last drop.
The series titled ‘Oil paintings’ began a couple of years ago when I was idly thumbing through an encyclopaedia I picked up in a charity shop on the formation and industrial extraction of natural resources. Leafing through I was struck by a row of beautifully rendered geographical illustrations depicting oil deposits in the strata of the earth. Though interesting from a scientific and an aesthetic perspective what really fascinated me was the absence of any activity above ground. ‘Oil Paintings’ is an attempt by me to add human activity to the surface of these otherwise innocent drawings.
Consisting of eight paintings the series follows the process of exploration, drilling, pumping, refining, trading, dealing, consuming and an overall will to profit that drives all oil dependant capitalist economies. Techniques used in the assemblage of the work are combinations of painted renditions of the original illustrations and transferred images from such diverse sources as a live web cam image of a research station in the Antarctic to a refinery taken from the marketing of one of the largest oil producers in the world.
Even though I see myself as an environmentalist, ‘Oil Paintings’ is not intended as a solely political gesture, more a subtle balance of imagery and my own visual enquiry into painting, reflective on a subject that holds me in both fascination and fear in equal proportions.