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Painting: Watercolor, Gouache, Ink, Pencil, Modelling paint on Paper.
I came back from Andalucia in Spain a few months ago, where I had visited a few art galleries that had collections of paintings by eighteenth and nineteenth century Andalusian artists. They gave a very strong flavour of life in the region at that time and many of them were contemporaries of Goya.
Like him, some of the work referenced the Peninsular War, though none of them showed the horrors that Goya recorded in almost journalistic detail in his 'Disasters Of War' series.
When I returned to England and found myself back in the studio, impressed by the Spanish landscape and the flavour of the country, I started to work on images that had been prompted by my visit.
As usual, war and conflict became the theme!
Here the body of a baby-like, supine naked figure explodes - its belly ruptured by an uncontainable ball of intense flame - whilst in the background, Napoleonic soldiers carry out murderous acts of war.
The supine figure is both bomb and landscape. All is turmoil and carnage.
Although there are references to external war here, I realised that this image also refers to overpowering internal conflict, like that of a nation at war with itself (the road and the telegraph poles and wires that span the lower part of the figure's body are references to the long roads that span the body of the nation of Spain - the body IS the nation). The raging conflict is so great that it blows out of the individual, thereby destroying it, or at least, threatening to destroy it.
The greatest conflicts are those within the human mind and breast (and belly!) - Mohammed said something to this effect - you can conquer all that you like in the world, but the greatest conquest is of the self.
Artist featured by Saatchi Art in a collection