The inspiration for this series is the city of Cambridge. As a photographer, I must have walked down every street and alley a thousand times and taken literally hundreds of photographs. I believe I know the city extremely well. I have always admired the paintings of German artist Anselm Kiefer and I am aware that he often begins many of his large-scale pieces by working over a single photograph. I began each of these paintings with small monochrome prints, using them as a sort of visual trigger or catalyst. I also included collage elements to generate additional compositional possibilities and ideas. The fact that none of the original photographs are visible in the final painting is immaterial; they played the key role of ‘icebreaker’ and opened the way for new avenues to be explored.
Although these paintings are primarily abstract you will see elements of architectural details in the gothic archways, sandstone walls and the rivers flowing beneath them. The plan view appropriates the concept of an aerial map and echoes the flattening of visual space seen in the work of the Cubists and American hard-edge abstraction. I use the term haptic because this work is not a reliable guide to the city or the river Cam but is a non-language communication which conveys meaning and feelings through colour, shape and texture.