“I see colour in a painting as a visual force rather than a decorative element. I deal with simple or complex, harmonious or awkward colour relationships in different works. I ‘arrive’ at my pictoriality rather than seeking it from the outset - preferring not to use a preconceived format, but discovering one as I paint. The force of each colour can be tempered or amplified through my handling of paint and the decisions I make regarding the concrete elements of my painting: area weighting; length of line; direction; edge and opacity. There’s surface too - I’m deeply concerned with that - it is a key factor that enables colour to have luminosity, which in turn can affect how space is made in the work.
Working with collage has sharpened my understanding of the differences it has with painting. For one thing, the collages have colour set down onto white paper. This means, I can put extreme contrasts of colour together in a relatively straightforward way and keep their intensity - each colour is dry during the making of a collage; these sorts of contrasts require strategy to create in a painting - working on top of previous colours and maintaining freshness and strength of colour is difficult. Also being able to ‘lift’ colour out of a picture and ponder it in different configurations and actually see the consequences of placement can feel reassuring - whereas a painting with its inherent wetness of surface is more unpredictable,unnerving even, by comparison. Although the paintings and collages are unified in their colour intent and a dialogue definitely exists between them, I still see them as discrete practices. I have different approaches to each language and only make progress by consistent, day to day practice. Each rewards in its own way - one need not imitate the other. I think it is human nature to enjoy both certainty and surprise. Emyr Williams, Nov ’08
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