Having had a long-standing pre-occupation with dancers, performers and the depiction of architectural, landscape and figurative themes, I wanted to explore a way whereby I could incorporate balletic flying figures (based on many hours of drawing in rehearsals at Sadlers Wells), with an obsessive passion for Islington’s architecture accompanied by honed-down scribblings of a psychological nature, (which have weighed down my note-books for many years), into a cohesive narrative.
Hence the concept for ‘ANGEL CITY’ was born.
With a foremost affinity to observational drawing the book developed to involve a sequence of images of which there was a linear interplay between dream-like figures, fragments of buildings and sometimes text. The descriptive emphasis on brickwork, balconies, windows, doorways, walls and rooftops is used as a symbolic device to embody and harbour the searching figures and conversely the juxtaposed figures inhabit the much loved streets and buildings which could read as inviting, exciting, sometimes threatening, and, as yet, unknown interiors, or womb-like refuge.
These integral themes of distorted architectural setting (often with an influence from ‘cinematic perspectives’, i.e. Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’; Vertov’s ‘Man with a Movie Camera’; Wim Wender’s ‘Wings of Desire’) and elusive flying bodies are carried over to explore a psychological sub-context. The fragmentation of form allows the body to enter the city. Rather like the pure form of ethereal ballet dancers pushing through physical boundaries and ascending against a flat backdrop, my figures struggle to rise above the confines of their environment, beyond the borders of the analytical, rational mind and into ‘another world’ where the soul can escape, free itself and feel – but still with the possibility of being harboured by the warmth of houses/buildings and the familiarity of the city-scape observed from above.
Various states of the image echo a narrative in previous work, suggesting certain ambiguous innuendo with changing references and heavily coded body language, which is not merely realistic representation, but an attempt at expressing sub-conscious struggle, longings, growth, desire, dilemmas, tensions, conflict, passion, anger and closeness. Boundaries, limitations, fight, flight and freedom. ​​​​​​​
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