I began the sequence of images which form NOBLE NONSENSE in 1988 and finished them in 2018.
When I started them I did not know that that was what I was doing. I was simply making images and destroying them if I wasn’t happy with them. Gradually a spine of images emerged. They weren’t the only pictures I painted. There are as many more images NOT in Noble Nonsense as there are images in it. And there are thousands of drawings.
But eventually a sequence of images in various styles emerged, often linked by the use of motifs taken from Greek Mythology. The Myth-Motifs became a sequence of prisms in which I refracted the times I was living through, both personal and public. By public I mean events taking place in Society. Similarly the photograph “Earth Rise”, taken by the Apollo astronauts, became a repeated motif. Gradually the sequence came to reflect, amongst other things, how one generation was passing on a ruined and ruining World to the next.
The individual commentaries on each painting in the sequence give a more detailed and specific interpretation of what is going on in each image. However, the images are deliberately “open” and ambiguous, and therefore open to interpretation by others.
There are 28 images painted over 30 years. Often I re-painted, re-started and returned to a painting over and over again during that period.
Noble Nonsense is a contemporary equivalent of the great fresco cycles of Giotto and Masaccio. It is a sequence of images reflecting a tiny fragment of Now, my fragment. In the time of the Italian fresco painters there was a universal story uniting society. In our time there is not.
I offer this prism from my lifetime, from my attempt to understand, in a spirit of generosity. I am imperfect so Noble Nonsense is too.
Nonetheless, I hope my fellow human beings can find something in it helpful and interesting.