2021 “Proverb”: short text

Terse, humorous, metaphorical, a proverb delivers truth with a light slap of recognition, an admonishment to do better next time.


These paintings seem to me imbued with a kind of droll fatalism. The lesson not-quite-learned is on the tip of my tongue. The animals regard us quizzically from a mossy slope, or dog basket, or lush field, not caring to share what they know.


A proverb is not attached to a real-life place or time. Like a well-worn joke, it hovers and gets passed along, a thing unto itself. It’s like a series of moves, a code.


A painting is so often attached, like scar tissue, to a grudge, or an idealism, or a hope, or even, like a photograph, to a moment in time. A painting is so often attached by apron strings to its maker.


My wish is to cut a painting free, let it drift along in its own series of moves, let it have its own code.

If a painting lends itself to freedom, perhaps its truth can be recognised like the punchline of a joke, with a kind of chastened pleasure. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, seeing is believing, and we should make hay while the sun shines.