It’s as if we are forging through the present like fish through water, fragments of now streaming past our eyes, the trail behind us composed of unknowable moments.
Memory doesn’t come in an ordered net of known cause and known effect. It’s a foamy mix of debris, flotsam and jetsam.
Paintings, like memory, also just snatch at the passing flow of the world. In the words of the artist in John Banville’s novel “The Blue Guitar”,
“Painting, like stealing, was an endless effort at possession, and endlessly I failed”.
I cast about for things to steal. A sky from this moment, a piece of rubbish from that, a trope, an idle fantasy, an echo from another painting. Out of these scraps I make memories of what never was. It is a form of rapacious theft from that present which is always, always disappearing behind my back, running through my hands.
Painting is a failure to grasp the present, but there is relief in failure. Rather the endless attempt, than to be caught up in rationale, in causes and effects, a weighted net that offers only finality. Tiny detail by tiny detail, painting gives a beautiful, imaginary shape to the flowing hours, the flowing years.