Moments Of Being

“Moments Of Being”

Paintings on display in a new show at Art Pistol Gallery in Glasgow -opening this weekend -were created during a new phase in my work of creating narratives within images. 

In trying to convey stories within paintings and drawings I have been acutely aware of the element of time - of trying to capture within one instant the legacy of moments that have gone before. 

The flower has always seemed to me to a visual motif that captures this sense of time passing in an impactful and powerful way. 

The life span of a flower is easily observable to humans. The act of cutting flowers to display seems to be an act that effectively illustrates the fragility and brevity of life and our desire to capture and savour moments of beauty within it. Cut flowers allow the colours, shapes, fragrances involved in their existence to be closely observed and appreciated while paradoxically cutting this existence shorter- the sensory experience has become all the more vital because we have hastened the flowers’ demise. 

A heightened moment of beauty leads to a intensified witnessing of decay and entropy - of time passing and a story told. 

I was exploring these ideas when my good friend Lauren introduced me to the works of Virginia Woolf, the importance of flowers as an emblem within her writing and her concept of “moments of being”. 

Woolf’s writings reveal her belief that life seems to be divided between a great deal of ordinary activity and exceptional moments that function as a form of “revelation”. 

These moments are sparked by objects or sights such as the flower. In a novel like “Mrs Dalloway” which is saturated with the image of flowers they act as a symbol which unlock greater emotions. These moments of intense experience are captured within Woolf’s writings as explorations of her characters’ inner lives. The flower creates a change to the self in that moment and leads to a heightened sense of identity through reflection on time that has passed. It transforms “non-being” to a “moment of being”. 

The facial expressions, the eyes and the physical stances of the characters within the paintings and drawings I create also  give - I hope - some access to their inner lives. The combination of these people and their emotions along with the passage of their lives as suggested by the flowers creates narratives that I will continue to explore. I’ll also continue to explore the writings of Virginia Woolf. 

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