The human figure is often a presence in Alan’s work and portraits, either self generated or commissioned, have been undertaken at various intervals throughout his career. Alan has exhibited several times at the National Portrait Gallery London and has been awarded prizes in open portraiture competitions – in particular in 2008 where he was winner of the first prize in the Wales Portrait Award Two competition.
“Portraiture interests me but not so much as a mere recording of an individual’s appearance. I want to give the painting several layers of meaning perhaps incorporating something about the sitters past history, their relationships, interests and obsessions.”
Portraiture is a long established genre in the European Tradition and most painters have at some stage also made self portraits
“Self portraits are not usually in my view made with a narcissistic intention. In my case wanting on occasions to work from the human figure the easiest most accessible model is yourself. In my self portraits, especially the more recent work I try not to be too serious and use humour as a means of self deprecation.”
The Art of Goalkeeping and Commedia Del Goalie
Creating a group of paintings that share a conceptual theme occurs often in Alan’s work. This can be exemplified in his two series of works called ‘Commedia del Goalie’ and ‘The Art of the Goalkeeper’. These series explore two major obsessions, football and painting. An interest in the religious painting of the 15th century is used as a metaphor to examine the role of the solitary goalkeeper as the last defender required to save the team and also as the individual most likely to be vilified. Some works are conventional easel paintings whilst others employ collage materials, mostly textiles, which are embedded in resin layers.
“I suppose these paintings are also self-portraits, this being a vehicle with which one can indulge in the idealised fantasy that sport represents for most boys of a certain age. Humour and irony are used to suggest that current realities are somewhat different.”
Anna Wants a Dog
This very personal series of works was critical in establishing a methodology of working not only in using transcription and appropriation from historical sources within the canon of European figurative painting but also combining this with imagery from different cultural contexts. This series of works relate to his daughters great desire to own a ‘real’ pet which was in direct opposition to the parental desire to resist the pressure. He uses child paintings from the 17th century as a starting point reproducing elements as faithfully as possible but then subverting the original with the inclusion of iconography from digital sources and auto biographical references.
“Unfortunately this heroic campaign of resistance was doomed to inevitable failure as is illustrated in the final image in the series. I became conscious that this might be my last opportunity to witness document and celebrate some aspects of the life of a nine year old girl quickly moving towards adolescence and adulthood”