About the Retrospect show…
Simon Mee/ Chalk and Charcoal
To talk about art and personal journeys seems as predictable as discussing football and “off field antics”, but despite my fear of clichés and large drunken men in football shorts I have had to embrace the former (definitely not the latter).
The artwork in “Chalk and charcoal” is important to me as it represents the last two years in which I have sought to re-examine what I do and to re-focus on what I believe is most important to me personally and artistically. This has resulted in drawings inspired by old images, photos, postcards and illustrations executed in chalk and charcoal. As artworks I feel they have become increasingly personal and reflective using the poetry of nuanced tone, line and decoration.
The drawing “Rosie is relative” typifies this, with its reference to “Rosie is my relative” by Gerald Durrell and his environmental championing and Buddhism. “Rosie is Relative” represents in many ways my personal journey, it both acknowledges and teases my own previous antipathy of all things Zen and Buddhist. This is significant as I believe that one of the significant differences in my new work is compassion. I represent this through the depiction of the Dharma wheel and Golden Hat Monk who faces east.
I use imagery a source, or site, in which to deal with humanity and its actions. These images either are postcards, images from books or an idea that I have to collage together from images that I can source from books and the computer. The image has to have something in it that elicits an instinctual reaction or idea. I have previously focused not on a triumphal humanity, or tragic hero, but on the “less than ideal human”, or but the absurd failure (the Woody Allen within). Thus the classical and religious subject matter is ideally appropriate given its links humanism and focus on human dramas, as a way of focusing on the less than ideal human.
The problem of expressing human failure is that “Expression” itself is a problematic in the wake of modernism, postmodernism and the altermodern. Even horror becomes boring if repeated endlessly, like living next to a train track- after a while you get used to the sound.
This does not remove the desire or need to express from myself or others. I attempt to deal with this problem of how to express, and my need to express, by trying to create an experience that is much like a journey -mixing sincerity, allegory, humour and horror to create works that shift in meaning. Seducing the viewer into approaching emotions or issues that would difficult to approach directly and then attempting to keep them viewer off-balance.