The recent paintings À Propos de Nice 1 and 2 are inspired by black and white photographs taken from the film of the same name by Jean Vigo film director.*
I love his films, and recently reviewed À Propos de Nice , after visiting Nice several times myself. I was interested in how Nice looked in the early 1930’s. It has always been a wonderful setting for people to enjoy the delightful sea and buildings,which make this part of the French Riviera so unique.
Last year I wanted to find a way of commemorating the horrific murders that took place there in 2016. How does Nice recover from the shadow of such a terrible event? Of course its history was not unblemished, and Jean Vigo’s film comments on the social divide. He contrasted the affluent classes relaxing in the sun with the lives of those people who service their needs. This contrast creates a tension that drives the film.
The paintings became more and more upbeat as I worked on them, adjusting color towards some kind of celebration of Nice, and less on the recent tragedy. Which was impossible to portray in the painting.
Though small, the paintings are 20×28 inches the juxtaposition of the vibrant colours ,and the dark silhouettes mean that this is not ‘just an other beach painting’.
The painting ‘Wired’ was based on an out take photo from the American HBO series “The Wire”* shown on tv. The composition is similar to the modernist above looking down viewpont that I used in the painting “Pick-up on South Street” *. It shows a street incident in strong sunlight. With special attention drawn to the debris in the gutter , the strong shadows,,and the abstract treatment of the street and its repaired state.
A fascination with rain on wet surfaces resulted in a series of paintings . One of these is the painting “Which Way” 2015 was taken from a photograph I took near to where I live.
*Jean Vigo was a French film director who helped establish poetic realism in film in the 1930s; he was a posthumous influence on the French New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s. wikipedia.org
* Dir. David Simon 2005
*Dir.Samuel Fuller 1953