In describing this new work, Paton explains that there are several themes emerging from the Primitive Series, and this work, in particular, explores the emotional state of the Artist in uncertain times. The work also reveals the abstract structures and intangible qualities inherent to the materials used to construct the piece.
The Artist's Primitive Series is typically a mixed media piece that incorporates one or more of the following mediums - acrylic, cold wax, encaustic, pastel ground, gold leaf and oil on canvas. The Artist's chosen materials will often have some influence over the finished piece. While there is always a clear intent and concept that underpins the artwork, the selected mediums will often create unexpected opportunities and shape the final result. The process of creation for Paton is at once both a shared mental and physical experience. It is in this process of creating a dialogue between the Artists chosen medium and the original concept of the work, overlayed with an intuitive feel of the canvas, that the artwork truly evolves.
Paton will typically spend a significant amount of time and effort in preparing the surface before commencing a piece. The Artist will often spend weeks creating an "eggshell" canvas that has a velvet-like feel to the touch, after the application of twenty or thirty interleaved layers of gesso and medium. However, the Primitive Series sees a departure from this process, and although the Artist will still prime the canvas adequately, it will be restricted to less than five layers. This intentional departure from the Artist's usual protocol ensures that the work includes the weave of the canvas with which he is working. Paton will strive to intensify and incorporate the underlying pattern of the cloth with the addition of numerous layers of acrylic, oil, and pastel, often scraping back sections of the medium, adding scratches and or incisions in the surface of the work as a means of drawing.
In creating this artwork, Paton sought inspiration from a quote by Stephen Covey coupled with the circumstances that the Artist finds himself in as a result of various external forces.
"If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster"...Stephen Covey.
The Artist has been on a significant journey in the last year or so. In late 2018 Paton relocated to a new country to start the most critical role in his career. This move was to be in the dream job in the dream country - a new life, a fresh start - the road to success! "Climbing the ladder"!
The move saw the start of a journey full of exciting travel (the inspiration for his popular Mumbai Mule piece), exciting projects, incredibly hard work, focus, creativity, results and professional development. Paton put his heart and soul into this opportunity and worked himself into two stints in a hospital through poor working conditions and exhaustion. Paton took solace in delivering some of the best quality work of his career and was singularly dedicated to supporting the ongoing success of his employer. Then the first reports of COVID-19 began to emerge in the press, and without warning, his employer (a huge multi-national company) put his position up for redundancy. Like many people in the corporate sector, Paton instantly found himself in a situation that could not be foreseen. Effectively stranded in a foreign country, a country that was to be a new home, with no income, the possibility of expulsion from the country after 30 days of being unemployed and no home to return too. In this uncertain time, Paton has turned full time to his ART to find self-expression and encouragement.
The central motif of the work is the ladder. Each step on the ladder represents intention, strength, knowledge, effort and ultimately, the truth or reality of the Artists new world. What was a "once a in a lifetime opportunity", has now become undermined and uncertain. What was once the goal, the work, the ambition, the certainty - was all just an illusion. Ultimately the ladder represents the Artists journey through life. We feel the challenge as the ladder sways beneath our feet, and often we fall with the struggles and unforeseen calamities of life. But the journey does not end there. We can reflect, endure, and continue to reach for that next step.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
An art maker for almost two decades, a student of the Julian Ashton Art School Sydney, one of the most influential art schools in Australia and now based in Singapore. Paton is considered a purist painter with a foundation in traditional, classical art techniques. Still, he chooses to work in a highly abstracted manner across the mediums of encaustic painting, drawing, photography, new, and mixed media.
An artist that takes great joy in creating impactful visual compositions, with a sustained interest in form and color, his work draws upon the traditional techniques of painting, in particular minimalism and abstract expressionism, but is also influenced by contemporary design, social commentary, and above all, the emotional impact of music. Using color as a vehicle, his work triggers emotional responses through both sophisticated and playful palettes.
IMAGE: Courtesy the Artist © PATON 2020