CIRCA 2007




The oldest surviving creative artefacts are engravings of apparently non representational forms. These 'entoptic' phenomena include grids and lattices, circles, spirals, parallel lines, concentric and other geometric shapes. The recurrence of these form constants throughout human history and prehistory, and their coincidence across diverse civilisations, suggests either powerful cultural units - super memes, or a common neurological origin. In the later theory, V1 cells of the visual cortex are the culprits...they do what they like when you doze off.

The mark of the hand is everywhere in the earliest human creations, but that may also be related to our hard wired brains. Many V1 cells are biased to quite specific visual orientations, sequences and angles. In this exhibition, the splayed fingers serve not just as a vehicle for optical attention, but also for something both ancient and infantile - our common origins. The hand is also a device well suited to the recording of parallel lines... and circles.

My strategy has been to reduce the field to non-representational visual forms. The paintings proceed by chance and accretion - in reverse. Means and artefact can become pleasantly confused. Films of paint are transferred from one surface to another, layered, superimposed, or juxtaposed. Symmetry and geometry may be a result of a certain mindless, random procedure. The structures turn in on themselves, like a Poincaré conjecture.

These paintings attempt to by-pass the particular in favour of the universal. Against my will they conspire to represent nothing. I submit, and am rewarded by an unlikely morsel. Self-conscious determinism, expectation and idealisms are sacrificed to the unpredictable. In all of this there are consequences rich in metaphorical potential - transparency, elasticity, overlapping, folding and unfolding, uncovering and overturning. Margins inhabit the centres. And these painting are made of holes.


If the work wants me to be indifferent, it tolerates occasional dissent. Any distant intervention on my part is a guilty pleasure. It’s fun. That’s the recompense. And then there are the titles. A similar methodology of detachment demands to be applied to words. In progress, the paintings don’t have titles, but words and notes occur. Titles are devised on resolution. Sometimes they arrive as acronym and anagram. Some paintings prefer only one or two syllable names. More obviously titled, the 'Rounder' cd objects are multifaceted - at once artefact, by-product and template for the proliferating small 'Rounderbout' canvases. In some pieces, titles are derived from songs - submitted to slight alteration. Mere superficial association to the artwork is needed - a colour perhaps. By removal of a single letter, a song title such as 'Baby Lemonade' (by Syd Barrett) becomes 'Baby LeMonde'; 'Grey Lagoons' (by Roxy Music) changes phonetically, to 'Grail Log-Ons'; 'Skeleton Keyhole' speaks for itself – one hole fits all keys; the painting 'Punspermia' is a pun on Pan. Panspermia being the theory that Life came to this planet Earth from elsewhere, already equipped for diversity.

Paul Hoban. October, 2007