“ ‘MEMORIAL’ is a series of paintings based on the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas). Looking upwards in the centre of the Memorial is a deeply disturbing experience for a number of reasons including of course its purpose, but also and perhaps more ambiguously, its politics. The Designer of the Memorial, Peter Eisenman, has used a particular aesthetic approach that demands silence but which also alienates, especially when surrounded by the 3 three metre high concrete blocks, each of which is somewhat reminiscent of a grave. Looking up in the centre of the memorial, the sky is framed by these blocks in such a way that a cross rather inappropriately appears overhead.
This powerful image calls out for meaning, as they always do. Is it Christian, is it an allusion to the many paintings of crosses such as Kasimir Malevich’s ‘Black Cross’ or is it an expression of the philosophy Martin Heidegger, ‘The Fourfold.’ None seem appropriate for such a memorial and so this contradictory effect, so inevitably incorporated into The Holocaust Memorial is just asking for it, painting-wise.
The paintings are a combination of old school ‘Hard-edge’ abstraction reminiscent of the well-known early 20th century modernist traditions as well as of the 1960s painters of the “The Field” exhibition and a new colour approach of my own. The works are intended to combine intensely coloured accessible abstract painting.
Naturally, the paintings can be regarded for their aesthetic qualities alone, as I expect they will be, but by combining them with such an important concept I hope that aesthetic appreciation will extend to conceptual thinking and perhaps bring important international issues to where they belong: into each of our individual consciousness.”
TOM LOVEDAY, October 2009