RICHARD MCWHANNELL – More Miles than Money
Several series of previous work are connected here.
Previous exhibitions: ‘Springs and Falls’, ‘Take Me to the River’ and ‘Truth or Consequences’ are all involved in a similar way to what I think of as absurdist, surrealist explorations; all part of a pictorial ‘theatre of the absurd’.
Paint is delivered to the canvas in a directed compositional way. Either paint directly applied to canvas as in The Strangeness of Thimblehead’s Dreams. Or by application in thick, oily, or wet consistency to a donor canvas that is offered up to a clear primed or sized blank canvas. By rubbing, rolling and otherwise a stamp or print is formed on the receiving canvas. In either case there is no specific image in mind. In the first instance the process and compositional directions are all there is. Then it’s a matter of looking at the muddled thing in front of me, which slowly starts giving up imagery. Through heightening colouring caressing and amplifying the muddle develops into the ‘Thing’ that the viewer sees.
Titles are clues only. you’re looking at pictorial poems. Take or leave what you will.
More Miles than Money is a title of an Alejandro Escovedo song. Garth Cartwright gave the same title to one of his musicology books, which came with a compilation 2 x CD of the same name . I see it as a metaphor for a long life in art. A picture for Jack Kirby is an acknowledgement to the great American comic artist. A picture for Oum Kalthoum, is similarly a mihi to the great Egyptian singer.
You couldn’t guess that The Big Cheese has an oblique reference to a Dick Frizzell painting, but don’t go too far with that, as this has nothing to do with Camembert!
To the borders again goes to the invasion of Ukraine by Putin, you might think it’s a little bit Ucello or Breughel, and you’d be right. The Burial of General Belgrano references both the Argentine General of long ago whose name was given to a warship that was sunk in the Falklands war of 1982.
You get the picture. In time they’ve all evolved meaning and purpose for me, but I can’t tell you what to take away from them. I have been deliberate in choosing an exhibition that doesn’t contain easy narratives.
It’s irresponsible to suggest; but I’ve found they go well late at night alongside a Sazerac cocktail or simply a good dollop of Green Chartreuse over ice. Stirred of course.