The focus of my work concerns the human tendency towards mindless behaviour, something that was an integral part of my life growing up in situations of menace, destruction and violent encounters, although a lot of experiences revolved around mischievous, humorous and amusing escapades.
The imagery represents or transmits ideology, power and social structures. I combine different orders of representation and visual language ( cartoons, diagrams, street art, historical paintings) in an attempt to reveal and explore these competing forms communication.
The work encompasses the notion of two worlds colliding the macho and the cultural.Partly autobiographical the cartoon characters scrawl across the picture plane of images taken from art history engaging with each paintings narrative. The work embraces paintings expressive physicality and is in dialogue with the technological revolution and the fragments that now seem to make up our visual culture.
Painting from digital sources is important to my work. It begins with a slow process of construction and de-construction. Firstly, painting the image and then a period of waiting for the work to dry. Secondly, it is then scraped and sanded to give a smooth flat surface similar to a computer print out but retaining that physicality of touch, which is further realised through the final stage of rapid application to give a sense of immediacy.
STATEMENT by Vincent Lavell (2015)
In the age of the digital all images lose their presence as objects. The multiplicity or availability of the digital files flattens the distinction between cartoon characters and Caravaggio. Making a painting that features or references these images retains some of the physical heft of the original and makes it available to be worked on physically by the artist. Surface, colour, scale and composition are ‘present’ for the viewer.
In the work of Frank Moore some of the images collide and grapple with each other in an arena strewn with the debris of art history and Modernism. In the ‘topsy – turvy’ world of Moore’s crazy cartoon characters they play and bounce around iconic images from the history of art. Van Gogh’s bedroom is turned over and Seurat is given a slap. Are these attempts to revivify these icons or are we witnessing the triumph of the banal over the significant.
It seems space in which the images appear is the natural home of the two dimensional cartoon characters. They set the pace as they move around the ghost images from history. They have the vital spring and animation of irrepressible corporate characters or are they the lords of misrule? Or maybe they inhabit or find themselves in a world that is beyond their understanding, beyond their expectation and so hysterical with excitement they are delirious full of Dionysian energy with an unfocussed potential not yet channelled into a definitive form. In this way they recollect John Berger’s description of Disney characters.
‘What they do is demonstrate how alienation may provoke a longing for its absolute form which is mindlessness’
Berger (1972) About Looking