'La Dolorosa', oil, acrylic & household paint on canvas, 97x97cm, 2017-19.
Title reference: Communards London Records released 1986.
Draped kitsch artificial foliage adorns this brutalist German WW11 bunker as it floats idly within a sea of rock candy pink and white stripes (stick of rock). I grew up calling this bunker ‘The Bus Tower’ because this is what my Dad has always called it due to it’s resemblance to a 1950’s yellow American school bus. So in my childhood imagination a huge concrete school bus was parked precariously at the cliff edge over-looking the sea at ‘the top of Pleinmont’ (to coin the exact phrase).
I like the idea of casually and innocently ornamenting (like a Christmas tree) the appearance of this eroding yet still-foreboding, once functioning strategic cog of the German Occupying forces war machine as a failed attempt to distract us from it’s past-life’s killing potential. This inevitability of failure references the frequently absurd WW11 camouflage techniques (such as the huge gun installations disguised as very peculiar-looking houses), as well as undermining it’s wartime purpose and context, and metaphorically - oppression in general.
And as we navigate ourselves through and past the Covid 19 Pandemic, these works can also take on the further meaning of being under a different Occupation of sorts.