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Metaphor as Materials
I have not lost my metaphor
I am just finding it
It’s in my bones
suck the marrow:
spit it out;
Pictures within pictures.
Frames of intimacies.
The ambassadors of our frontiers are not our statesmen
But our prospectors
Dug dynanite dredged
I am the law
Dust to dust
Lindal Moor’s raw ore
Shipped to Bonawe
Slipped into reduction
Not with Quaker Coke’s efficiency
but exhumed trees.
What greater way to supplicate a nation
than through the consumption of its chattel.
Having exhausted his native Lancastrian trees,
Frustrated by their lack of fecundity,
he slipped into that other union with a dowry of trees.
The forest had no escape.
Forced into marital rape.
Consummated in fire, a funeral pyre.
All that green reduced to black
Where should we wear our cross on that Jack?
Men in furnaces need their beer
Highland water tasted too queer
They brought the seeds that remain as Betty’s hops.
No flowers as it’s not too hot.
What was the ballast that those Lancastrian ships took back?
It was the body of Bonawe mountains themselves
Strong evenly fragmented
Perfect for cobbles
Pretender of Tar Macadam
Bellicose Britain’s Bonawe baked canon balls
That Slag burnt to heat to pig iron.
Franc-allies of Jacobites drowned.
A cannibalization of its once allies.
Let us discuss this in the age of reason not treason
Let us define a man’s work, his property as secular not sacred.
Rio Tinto Alcan have the world, they are the world
Australia, China, Canada and Brazil have Alumina.
That river is as dark as an aged port
Whisky ages in port casks
Japanese whisky from Lidl is cheaper
Vassal of water, of captured latency of Treig, Spean and Spey
Captive hope, latent hope
Flowing not free, dialed to fleetingly heat hot air.
Count this point of refraction and reduction
Captivating heat as pressure
Sintered aluminum cinders
Smelted ore frames the shadow of the
old God man mountain to tèarnadh his wife
the wind frame capture rapture
Of course it is the last that is most deadly
Scotland to a T
Forrest comminuted Tennets gold in cycanide
Those triple bonds waiting and wanting to fuse with our flesh.
Bayer Boyles Hall, Heroult Deville, Soderberg,
MacArthur and Forrest are long since dead.
The names of those scientists, the spare heir, the non apparents
Eponymous names of diseases suffered
inflicted on the stratified animals.
Bayer Boyles Bauxite
Alumina Gibbsite Boehmite Diaspore
Aluminium as beautiful as the wooded glens once were.
Soft skin of youthfull irridescent purity
Seduction of surface.
Scientific developments the later part of the 19th century
allowed painters to have
Vivid, light fast colours.
What was once Lapzi is now sodium aluminium silicate
Red iron oxide gives English red, the colour of Argylls rust.
Reassuringly, lamp gas is the soot of petrified trees.
My beloved translucent turquoise cyan cyanide
Hedbridean seas, Lorn and Awe
Let me hex phthalo triplet around the floor
A reel of what name?
The wheel of all our life
Blood’s heam and chlorphyll’s green.
Extruded from Aluminium.
Extruded from metal
Mixed poured brushed dropped cajoled
Sits vulnerable in its refined state
the hidden material latent memory.
Slow thought stops
Revealed slope intent and sag
Slipped silently sideways
Like all good oil redundant to perfection
Dust sticks to the apparent slick surface
brighter and more saturated
Revealed by great transparency
the action of light
The sun keeps giving.
The monoculture that is the forestry plantation drowns the land
burns in its acid sterility.
Decorative deciduous borders do to not fool animals.
Funded by feudal centuries.
The same people that drew down that asset,
profited from that original sin that union
the devalued fettered thistle
Hunts shoots balls reels wait as their assets grow.
Trusts pays less dues to their Crown.
This slip still stays distilled.
Are we enlightened now?
Futures never restore hope but apparent empires
Domains never return satiated sanity
But meters and packing
Desire is fire
And so we return to trees.
I have been many things to many people.
What do they call me now?
Taken with the help of the admin office at the Tontine building, Glasgow school of art temporary home after the fire.
This is a four minute video about Landscape, time, plots of land, consumption and compartmentalisation.
Watch “A YEar 4mins_1” on Vimeo:
Modernism had its certainty, the knowledge that man makes meaning of a thing, any thing, and, from this, man is free to make his own choices and create his own meaning (Jean-Paul Sartre). Binary oppositions defined meaning, juxtaposing relationships between one thing and another, such as rules of human relationships (Levi-Strauss): Rich, Poor; Male, Female; Black, White. This stand point offered a certainty; it defined the hierarchy of person and place. This idealism provided a ‘knowing’ that demonstrated that all men were free men. This was a relatively new idealism, considering the abolition of slavery, and rationale behind the demonstrations of the Luddites during the industrial revolution (REF).
Modernism grew from the rise of the ‘common’ man, it created the middleclass. This is seen in Ingres portrait of Louis-Francois Bertin (‘Louis François Bertin’, Ingres), seen in the man’s directness of the gaze and gravitas. The Ruling class and politicians, shocked by their defeat in the ‘socialist’ revolutions in America and France, engaged philosophers such as Marat to introduced the idea that they, the rulers, were friends of the people. Marat was martyred for this cause and beatified by David in The death of Marat ( (David, 1793) This depiction could be interpreted as a hope, a desire for simplicity in an increasingly complex world.
A more cynical analysis could be to view it as mere political propaganda, to control the masses, to hide the complicity and, ultimately, duplicity of that great societal system. Societies’ knowledge of the atrocities of the First and Second World Wars meant the end of that naivety, the end of that implicit trust. With the realisation of our barbarity came the examining and questioning of how this could have happened. Such that the tenants of our knowledge; those of language and systems of thought, of how we construct our reality only through concept and word were looked at again.
Word, or rather, the meaning of a word, changes with respect to its associations over time (Kant in Anderson. 2009.). A discussion with signs, metaphors and metonymys, that have influence both, in our current interpretation of them and in our understanding of then in past. For example, the current vogue of using the abbreviation ‘LOL’; this term, ten years ago, had no meaning. Today it has at least two meanings. In twenty years time it may be obsolete, or be the short cut term to describe the generation that started using it. LOL will probably not mean then what it means today. The metanarrative of one-size fits all explanation to everything and to anything and everyone was rejected (Appignanesi. 2007; 2003.) The metanarrative is reductionist and denies complexity.
Thus, Modernism developed into Postmodernism, as if from a childish state into that of the angst ridden teenager. The challenge of Postmodernism, has lain in not necessarily knowing what the precise question to be answered is. But rather, that assumptions have been made, in any standpoint and from all frames of reference. It is from looking at these assumptions that a series of questions are started to be formulated. Thus, meaning is created taking into account culture and other social formations. Postmodernism not only allows us, it encourages, us to explore and question constructs in any ideology; such that, to have fixed ideas, or didactic frames of reference or structures, is viewed as undesirable (Clark.1992.). However, in claiming an almost moral preference for this non-fixed, or fluid discourse it in itself is a contradiction of post-modernism. In this lies some of the paradox of post-modernism.
Meanings of actions are constantly being subverted by other actions that, in changing the context of the former actions, changes their meanings. This is why postmodernists celebrate ironic, parodist, and campy renditions of conventional behaviors as politically liberating (Butler. 1993.). If Marx lamented that history repeats itself twice—first as tragedy, second as farce—postmodernists revel in the same process.” (Anderson. 2009.)