IT magazine, Article published July 2018

Painting makes more sense than anything else ....

It is the closest thing to nature, almost to the point that you becomes nature itself in the act of creating.

The freedom and letting go of 'who we Think we are' allows us to express ourselves creatively.

visually in this case. 

painting, as in nature has its opposite poles.... 

It is the relationship between Order and Chaos that creates harmony, tension and balance within the painting, regardless of subject matter.

A good painting, whether figurative, landscape or abstract are all challenged with these same set of criteria's.

To know whether a painting is successful or not, without having to look at a label, price tag or stamp of approval from the so called (Art World)experts.

 -You must first absorb what is in front of you, and look(but not with the logic of the mind) at the painting

.-Stop thinking(Tabula Rasa) and try to allow thoughts and questions that may arise('whats all this about?', that doesn't look right?', 'I like that!', 'i don't understand it?', 'thats a beautiful passage!'.....) to pass through you, don't try to answer those questions until you have absorbed the painting

Allow your eye to roam over the painting, where ever it wants to go.use your mind to observe your emotional response to the painting. Through this time spent looking/absorbing you will have collected a variety of feelings and thoughts, and this will be your starting point for that particular painting.

From this starting point and the more you look at paintings this way, the more you will be able to start to understand what is successful as a painting and what you like in particular about certain paintings.

looking is a perspective and the more you can understand your perspective the clearer you can see.

An observation; Cities, "the stuff that surrounds us". Taken from notes written while in Tokyo, April 2002

Tokyo

Its Architecture, Ordered Clean Lines, Formal Buildings that cut into the skyline. Blocks of Sorm, squares, Rectangles, Steel, Concrete. The Endless variants of Tone and Colour combinations of buildings, posters and lights, that either bombards or subtly fill our view.

Sitting on a train I watch this city unfold and pass by, a continuous feast of colour and form. Visual poetry.

I don't speak or read the language here, so the words, signs and advertisements take on a different meaning and have no influence on what I see. In themselves they become shapes and marks on a canvas. I find there is a beauty to this feast of visual harmony and chaos.                                                

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Talking about the Circle paintings...

The circle paintings started while i was in Cyprus.

I was reading an article about pollen in an old copy of national geographic. while looking at the B&W images of these microscopic particles, when a thought hit me. This very basic, yet fundamental shape; the circle, is repeated through-out Nature and the Universe. From micro to macro, pollen to planets.

Whether it's recognized as a disc,plate, hole, an orb or ripples on a pond, they are all connected by this shape.  

The first set of paintings I made were specifically about the circle. 4 paintings, the same size circle drawn out on 4 same size canvases, yet all painted differently. 

The idea was simple in that they were the same but yet so different in character. The painted circle could end up being seen as a plate, hole or a three dimensional sphere.

The Hammersmith circle series paintings,(10 canvases the same size) was a natural progression.

In these paintings the circles are the same size, and the radius was based upon the length of my arm.

These canvases were rectangle unlike the squarish ones of the Cyprus paintings, there was more space around the circle which created a relationship between the circle and its surrounding space. 

By adding another element to this surrounding space(a vertical line), this created a new dynamic and tension which I wanted and found exciting.

By taking things back to such basics through the use of this beautiful shape I felt as though i was relearning visual language and began to truly understand the language of abstraction.

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Piero Passat Gallery, 21 Fleet Street, London EC4.

"GRACE, FORM, BEAUTY AND  BALANCE"   

An exhibition of paintings by Mike England.            

Thurs' 27th May 2010

Press Release

There are 2 periods of work on show.

"Within the City" series, and "Recent Paintings"

"Within the City", Showing 10 paintings from a series of 30 that I painted over a period of 2 years (2002-2004) while living and working in my studio in Shoreditch (1999-2005).

These paintings were loosely based on sketches I made while wandering around the City(financial district) at weekends and evenings when it was empty of people (comparatively so).

What I found Fascinating as I walked around this area were the exaggerated perspectives and vanishing points that buildings made. How these huge block shapes, made of glass, steel and concrete seemed to change, and how the same view altered when it was night. Buildings lit from the in-side, reflections from traffic lights, headlights of passing cars effected this environment, visually changing its appearance completely.

I became interested in the visual composition of this environment.

I wanted to strip it back to its simplest form, through the working of 30 paintings I tried to achieve this idea. I worked with compositions of block forms, suggested perspectives and random suggested reflections and lighting.

some were(in my Opinion) more successful than others. Overall I think this series of work was relatively successful, both in achieving its objective and also out of the 30 made, 20 were collected by individuals as well as collectors.

 The New work is a continuous, unfolding, evolving process of painting based on my experience, fascination, curiosity and interest in the visual language of painting, especially abstract painting.

I am interested in Abstraction, as i think the world around us and life is abstract.It is only our minds that catagorise and label.

but that is only one side... abstraction deals with the other side.

so my work can be said to be Literal? 

Literal paintings tell stories regardless how loosely or tightly the recognizable imagery might be. It allows the viewer to process the recognized imagery through the eyes to the mind, and then to understand this language of painting.

Abstract painting is pure visual language. Again the viewer absorbs the painting through the eyes, but this time allows the viewer to experience the painting, not just to recognize it. For many, it is difficult for the mind to processes this visual information and therefore unable to understand this language. As there is nothing recognizable to hang pre-conceived conceptions on.

A lot to do with the conditioning formulated in the early years of life(i.e. school, families, society, environment... etc), and not living in a system that promotes or encourages independant thinking.

I often think there are similarities with abstract painting and Jazz. Both are free and indefinable, both adhere to a set of liberal rules (in that you have to learn the fundamentals of painting as you do with music. You have to learn the rulebook before you can throw it away).

Learning to walk before you can run.Both have the power to make people feel and to move them emotionally,hopefully with a sense of Grace, Form, Beauty and Balance.   

                                                                                                                        

Mike England, May 2010.

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Early hours of the morning, Jan 07, Painting 

I want/would like to try and put a few words together about the nature of painting as i understand it.

The power, the fullness of creating an image made of colours, of forms, of surfaces, of rhythm’s, of depth’s, of illusions, of harmonies and discords.

It’s kind of like being a jazz musician or a witch doctor or a shaman or a god or all these things at the same time.

It’s creating a recipe made of strong and gentle feelings guiding us ("kinda like Yoda, I guess")

It’s getting in touch and using the 7th sense that lives in you.

It is extremely difficult to explain and make it clear to understand just with words, as its everything that is expressed without words.

It’s the stuff in between each word that makes a sentence.

It’s a No play.

To begin with, there’s the emptiness/ the possibilities in/ on the chosen canvas size and the boundary that this gives you to work within.

The first mark is like the first breath of its life.

Like with a child you grow with it, you try to guide, nurture and help to bring out its essence as it develops through the seamless stages of its growth to maturity.And like a child it has its own character that will test your ability to be a good parent to bring out its qualities with honesty and purity.

“mmmmmmmm”?, something like this. 

Have to re-read this in the blue, greyness of the new morning to see if it makes sense.

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The nature of my work 

As a painter I find myself unconsciously, almost primitively, affected by my environment.

There is no specific motif in my work; it is the energy/ atmosphere and the visual makeup in any one place.

This, combined with my working process and a continual quest to learn and understand the visual language, is what drives it.

For a number of years now my work has been based on the visual language of abstraction, I would say that in some ways I am a visual composer, composing in colour, creating form, structure, harmonies, discords, tensions, a sense of rhythm, power and beauty, creating visual imagery that tries to incorporate and balance these elements.

I am also interested in that fine line that separates the literal from the abstract.The visual suggestion or recognition of an object,

Being suggestive only by a shape, a colour, a form, a space....

I am continuously trying to find this point of balance in my work; this idea can be seen more clearly in my last series of paintings, ”within the city”. 

Creativity is an ongoing, changing, evolving entity, and the creative process should also be similar to this. 

Mike England,   Dec’2002 

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 Three months in Hammersmith,   "Formal abstractions" Circle series

The circle is repeated on many levels throughout nature, centrifugal force creates this shape continuously, a droplet of water, ripples on a pond, microscopic pollen to the planets in the cosmos etc. 

The same explosive energy is repeated in the lever construction of the human body that favours curved motion. The arm pivots around the shoulder joint, The subtler rotation is provided by the elbow, the wrist and fingers. 

This direct reference to the body dictates the scale of the circles I use, which in turn affects the size of the canvas. The feeling of human scale is important to my paintings. I see each painting as an individual creation that is part of continuity, a series in the development of the primordial circle. 

This very simple yet complex form, and the decision to use the same size circle and canvases, allowed me quite specifically to work with visual language (composition, colour, surface and suggestive perspective......).

 The object of my work is to create a feeling of balance between harmony and tension. Ideally, each painting should be seen in an individual space.   

Mike England, 1997 

Online Exhibition: Virtual Gallery, Paintings by Mike England