Highly regarded and long-established, Yorkshire-based artist, Tom Wood, presents a series of new paintings reflecting his current preoccupation with still life. Watch a video of Tom in his studio at Dean Clough, Halifax, below.
Tom writes about this exhibition:
I call my work Still Life only for the sake of convenience and yet virtually everything within them is invented.
Superficially figurative elements can be recognized, even named and yet the driving impulse in making them is entirely abstract and at the mercy of the composition. Some basic Still Life principles still apply, for example, the notion of a division enabling space to be suggested or notional objects clustered together to suggest relationships or a narrative. These traditional tropes are there as devices to be used and discarded as and when necessary. The painting will go through many stages and my relationship to it will also change many times.
On reflection I realise I have phases at different periods of the painting’s realization. These don’t progress in a logical order; they are often reactions, however, often my first response is reckless and carefree so I might be surprised by an ‘accident’. Marks are made crudely and spontaneously, nothing is seen as precious and everything can be shifted, moved, and destroyed. This strategy is to leave open as many options as possible whilst at the same time being aware of the emergence of an original composition. All the time I’m searching for forms to align, colours to be paradoxically both dynamic and subtle and for meaning to evolve.
The painting is not ‘about something’ but a series of proposals, it’s not a declaration or conclusion but more likely a series of tentative questions, ‘does that tone of green make that particular turquoise more active or passive’? ‘How big should a pink teapot be before the yellow bowl appears overwhelmed’? My paintings are a whole series of conversations, initially with me and then I hope with the viewer.
For me the painting is a series of propositions rather than a declaration of conclusions. It’s not a summary of the world as is but an offering of what could or even might be. Virtually all the painting is invented, the objects, their positions, scale, and surface are at the mercy of the composition. Structure, the scaffolding of the painting is the mechanism holding the image together, everything is subservient to it.
Tom Wood, October 2023