William Dick

London, United Kingdom

The Painting and the Object

My paintings record my interest in reconciling different and often estranged qualities and ideas in painting. I work through an experimental evaluation of the co-influence or confluence of organic and geometric, texture and structure, density and transparency, the sensuous history of paint and the austere tradition of Minimalism.

Within the context of abstraction—namely geometric and organic—I begin with the fundamental balance in painting between line and color. I have drawn on ancient symbolic shapes from my Scottish background, and I am influenced by the simplest forms of drawn lines such as the circles, concentric circles and spirals of Pictish and Celtic art, which still retain some of their symbolic power. Linear elements in my work derive from this source as well as from African and Aboriginal art, Abyssinian warrior shields and Russian icons, and other lines and shapes that retain, in the broadest sense, some cultural significance. For color I begin from observation of geological form and the substance of land; of dust, sand, mud and rock as well as the outcrop of local street furniture/architecture; weather and the effects of weathering, and then of the often extreme and exotic color of lichen, peat and mosses.

My work exploits all the painterly techniques that have been used throughout the Western tradition, and over the years I have built on that knowledge with extensive experimentation using a wide variety of media. Recent works use wax and bitumen with all kinds of paint to create surfaces that are intensely worked with drawn lines and a range of brushed applications which build a layered body of paint of variable density and transparency. Structure and color are modified, inflected or deflected by developing textures which alter intent and meaning. I’m intensely aware of the process in which the painting acquires its identity and presence. When this dialogue of authorship and authority resolves the tensions of surface and depth, qualities and ideas, I get close to the synthesis I aim for when an idea becomes an object which declares itself in the purest language of painting.

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