Born in that hinterland between southeast London and the border of Kent, visual stimulation was distinctly lacking in my childhood. My escapism became old black & white films and B movies, a contrived, ethereal world of dark shadows and strange figures.
influence for this series of paintings was from a scene in a film, where a
suspicious woman follows her friends husband to a deserted beach on Staten Island, New
York. She tells a friend via telephone of how she followed him and what
she saw on that eventful day, giving the scene a voiceover.
This scene that existed for me in a short, fuzzy piece of video footage became fascinating. I wanted re-imagine this landscape, to explore it further and look from other viewpoints. I began started consulting old photographs, maps and eventually built a scale model of the buildings. As I worked on the paintings I created my own dialogue, the landscape started to become mine. My intention was to get the viewer to become the protagonist, making them the watcher in the shadows! The style of the work is detailed but at the same time unrealistic to convey the sense of obsession, it's what I call "Unrealism".
Whilst working on these paintings my own marriage was breaking up. The obsession, bleak desolation, melancholy and unknown forces were all things I was experiencing at the time. The paintings were done during the only time I had to myself, very early in the morning and because I had to hide them away, the format was such that they could fit above the fridge in the kitchen!
A further idea was to paint the landscapes through the words, so the viewer would perceive both at the same time, as in the work "I KNOW WHO YOU ARE", unfortunately, time and finances were against me to ever follow through the idea.
© 2006 Gram Hilleard. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or
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