‘His work is overlaid with art historical reference and in the case especially of the figure compositions, with ambiguous narrative possibility and the theatre of relationships. He has been particularly affected by the the writing of Shelagh Delaney, with its wry Northern humour and working-class, kitchen sink romanticism. Such phrases of hers as “this is a funny looking set up’ have for him a special resonance.’ – William Packer 2012
My Kitchen sink period (1986-1993) reflects two things – my interest in late fifties / sixties Kitchen Sink drama /film and the mixing up and appropriation of genres of all kinds. It started in the late eighties when I was studying Fine Art at De Montfort university… stuck for subject matter I visted the college library and found some film stills that then became the basis for some etchings for me. The writers Shelagh Delaney (Taste of Honey) and John Osborne (Look back in anger) held an appeal in the way they constructed verbal as well as visual scenarios. My early etchings combine words with images because I liked this idea. The ‘Kitchen Sink’ period of British drama / writing gleaned romance from the mundane and often ‘the macabre appeal of the North’- the ironing board in ‘Look Back in Anger’ etc. My interest strayed into very British films like early Bond and the Carry On films with their idiosyncratic humour combined in the self cosciously post modern etching ‘Sean Connery and Sid James at the Folie Bergeres’ where the figurative painting of Manet is mixed with an imagined encounter between Sean Connery and Sid James at the Folie- Bergeres. Mixing genres and time periods.
What I liked about theatrical side was the artifice. An old theatrical backdrop is essentially a painting / 2d. The idea of Art/artifice was further explored in the ‘Whitechapel’ period where the Kitchen Sink ideas overlap into an interest in the classical tradition. ‘There’s a Place’ (above) could also be seen as the first in the ‘Men & Women’ series. So there are seeds of future interests in these works.
The Artists Studio is me taking on Manet’s ‘Luncheon in the Studio’ and Courbet’s depiction of himself in the studio. This time I took the two paintings and got my friends at De Montfort Universtiy Fine Art to take up the poses at my student studio in Lower Brown Street, Leicester.
The catalystic year 1966 is the year of my birth and something that indirectly influences the etching ‘Procrastination’ ( something I still suffer from). This takes a film still as its source from the 1966 film ‘Morgan – a Suitable Case for Treatment’ and adds a quote about procrastination from a novel I was reading at the time. It was about a 1st year Art student’s ‘Ennui’ / fear of the blank canvas and includes random things/cartoons I was thinking about at the time.
© Christian Furr 2016