Between Two Waves
L'Artishe Gallery Exhibition Statement
by Stephen Bishop
Whilst staying in an artist’s studio in Andalucia in 1988 I made the life changing decision to live and work in Dorset. Taking my cue from the Impressionists I have sought my inspiration directly from nature. Dorset with its rich coastline, heath and woods has sustained my art since 1989.
In my work I am always searching, yearning for a connection which I can’t quite grasp. I really hope that my paintings are “the song of the hearts desire” to quote from a favourite Van Morrison track. My satisfaction in painting comes from exploration, working hard and intense intuitive moments that I can only describe as an “otherness”. Music and poetry have strong influences on my work. I am actively involved in Flamenco, dancing with the group Luna Flamenca.
Many of the paintings in this exhibition were created on location. The collage works with sand, shells and other found objects were assembled during 2013 on South Beach at Studland. These works are made of the beach itself. The colour of the buoys and rhythm of the tides influence paintings in a musical way. Time, memory and place are central to my paintings. The assemblages with ceramic pieces were collected along Poole harbour in the 1990’s and are imbued with memories. I like the fact that these ceramic shards had other lives and have been discarded and lost to the sea. Broken and shaped by it’s action and conjured up on the shore. To begin a new life in an art work reflective of the sea.
I have been drawn for many years to explore abstract qualities inspired by observation. I feel that I am between two waves, one a figurative and the other an abstract world. The push and pull of these two forces continues. The results can be seen in this exhibition. It may well be that I am moving towards a new kind of abstraction. I have always strived to make my paintings stronger and communicate emotions in a powerful way. I feel that a loosening of the ties to the figurative motif and transition into deeper abstraction may provide the key to achieving this.
The following lines taken from Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot have particular resonance for me.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.