Artist’s Notes

  • May 15, 1997

Do you see, mesdames et messieurs, the contents of my shop? It is full of great works. The human spirit has been squeezed dry by their creation. They stand here, mute but immutable; silent evidence; the fingerprints of the human soul.

You can see it in every stroke. The soul is the work’s shadow. It is set in the hardened paint like the figures frozen at Pompeii, or the silhouettes of those vaporised at Hiroshima.

What price shall I put on them?

I’m interested in how a “realistic” image captured by a camera can evolve into something more abstract. Digital photography is my chosen medium because it gives me new ways of looking at and working with images. With it I can take an image through different colour spaces, rotate its hues, change its luminosity, blur it, bend it and blend it.

To me, a lot of computer art seems flat and lifeless. I think this is because it doesn’t make reference to anything that I understand as being real, that I have experience of. I find it hard to get interested in images a computer can create by itself. Computers are powerful tools but they can’t be trusted to make aesthetic decisions. Would you let a hammer build you a house?

We all have creative souls, don’t we?
We create, we procreate, we recreate; we can’t help it –
we are too afraid of dying to stand still. Too afraid of being forgotten.
When the bomb comes we want to leave our mark on the ground.
We want people who come after us to say

“Oh look, there was a human being here once.”

Given my enthusiasm for technology, it might seem ironic that nearly all of my images originate from nature. This is because I love the forms and textures that occur in nature. Nature has a knack for creating them that is hard to beat. It’s shapes and forms are compelling to us, to which any gallery will bear witness.

I am interested in the power that these forms have to prick our psyches, to challenge our way of seeing the world. I think that the relative absence (coy avoidance?) of the male form and representation of the male as sexual being in art is an interesting counterpoint to the way men see themselves today, especially in reference to the ‘sexual revolution’.

Even destruction is a form of creation. That’s why we have come up with such
fancy ways of destroying ourselves. It is a creative pursuit like any other.
I am not very original. I am smoking myself to death.

When I work on an image I try to extract the essence of the subject, or at least the essence of my response to it. I search for the stuff which must be amplified and drawn out before it can be seen.

This war of attrition against the distractions of the whole lets me focus on the seminal in an image. It brings the attention down to the salient, the telling.

A portrait of the artist. As a middle-aged man.
I strain my eyes to see something more.
Nothing is revealed.
Don’t my paintings reveal me?
Isn’t there a life there, rich and full?
I did them all; can’t you see me there?

To browse through my work, choose Art from the menu up the top. I hope you enjoy your visit. If you feel like getting in touch with me, leave a comment.

The quotes used above are from my play, “Con-Artist” © Guy Morton 1991

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