London I & II (2018, mixed media)

London I: Soho Square

London II: Primrose Hill

This mixed media diptych represents a departure from more lyrical and myth-inspired recent work. The unsettling red, black and pink palette suggests a city a long way from peaceful, while the scribbled-over flower motifs and lonely dabs of green struggling to be seen in Soho Square speak of a natural world constrained by or entirely buried under a grimy and chaotic urbanism.

Meanwhile Primrose Hill, without entirely abandoning the thick black pen-strokes that so powerfully evokes the mess and dirt of the inner city, deploys this motif sparingly and with an upward energy that conveys with impressive economy the sense of viewing the dense, high-rise clusters of Central London from an elevated position to the north-west. The pearl and star motifs, untouched by the black overlay seen on Soho Square, further convey the sense of soaring and even of a rare glimpse of starlight above the city’s perennial light pollution: the privilege of the wealthy urbanites that populate the piece’s namesake.

Taken together, the London diptych blends class commentary, graffiti influences and a sense of both the filth and grandeur of a world city, dancing between the bleakness of William Blake’s poem of the same name and Oscar Wilde’s famous observation that ‘We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’