Back then the potency of life had hit my young heart all at once. Art, love, her, music, energy, spirit all expressed, but never together until the potency of now engaged the whole. Now is the longest second of them all.
Sometimes I catch the now amidst my second chance on canvas, in wood and amongst some words, at other times it’s unheard. Unseen and intangible, like our own echo come back to me.
Stephen Kirin, October 2017
Our collaborative show continues at Ashdown Gallery in Forest Row East Sussex, together with a sizeable collection of our individual paintings and sculpture. For us, this is such an poignant moment in both our artistic careers and as a significant marker in our deep love for one another.
Spending every single moment together now is astounding to us. We share everything, not least our creativity of course. Working in tandem in the studio is a gift that has jettisoned the solitude we felt when apart. We work intensely and often in complete silence, unless a little Brian Eno is called for and we break to crit each other’s progress. We now have a solid working practice that benefits from our deep knowledge, love and respect for each other. We are two sides of the same head.
There is no doubt that putting this exhibition together has crystallised this intensity. Producing such a visceral body of work has been extraordinary and we are both deeply moved by the experience. It is always thrilling to see a body of work presented in one space; to see how each piece complements another, but it feels even more special to us somehow, as we present our entire creative processes for display. We are just taking a moment to reflect on where we are at present and have our hearts and minds open to the next step in our journey together.
Our deepest thanks to Juliet Townsend at Ashdown, who has been an absolute pleasure to work with and has presented the exhibition with so much care and sensitivity; we are simply delighted with the resulting show. It was a joy meet so many people at the preview too and to have the opportunity to discuss our working processes and inspirations. We are thrilled to that several collaborative pieces are now off to new homes, where we sincerely hope they will be treasured and enjoyed.
We feel so inspired to see where our brushes takes us next.
Much love Lorna and Stephen xx
“Wow! Looks absolutely stunning in the photos.. Can only imagine how it is in real life! I love the way your individual styles and pieces blend so seamlessly, complementing and accentuating each other. It really is like two minds working as one in different heads, two souls souring together from different hearts! Again Wow!”
The lightening showed your back
For a moment and charged the black blinked away.
The thunder woke a question
Moving a static held shoulder in reply.
I rained for a while, as daylight filled the sky.
Returning to the same place each year to paint against a backdrop of changing faces and presences, is mirrored by the stasis of a protected place. But of course it changes gradually as well, like the lines on a face or my face in a self portrait. These dips into that place each Summer are dips into a rendering of where I am, even whilst painting brick, stone and render. I painted there with the hope of children, with thoughts of both parents departure from a life, during breakup and amidst love and hope the day before my wedding whilst nevertheless saying goodbye to my mother. Now I paint there again with a smile on my face.
We are delighted to have been approached by a poet in Canada to illustrate one of his poems, ready for publication in an anthology of his work. This is very exciting for us and the first time that we have had to respond to someone else’s words collaboratively.
The painting was initially worked in watercolour, using bold washes and textures which suggested skeletal forms to us. We then worked into the surface with ink, drawing out the fantastic shapes of femur, joint and vertebrae, whilst allowing the original marks to inform an alchemy of meaning.
Constructing and deconstructing imagery with a view to enabling deeper interpretation has become essential to our work. Within that, our collaborative approach must be completely free flowing, spontaneous and evolutionary. We are prepared to sacrifice each other’s marks (and our own) and we both embrace the importance of questioning, reworking or even destroying areas to achieve true creativity and life in our work. It is essential in fact and just a step on from what we all do as artists when applying a new paint stroke, drawing with a rubber or carving further into a form. The next step being that we offer the work to each other to apply a further dimension.
We will post a link to the book when it’s published and wish David all the best with his project.
An Amber Moment 92x72cm Mixed Media
An amber moment when something pure
In the air
became encased in a breath held behind the
passage of time
was exhaled and condensed into the amber dawn of
a winter morning.
An era later the skin felt the breath.
Stephen Kirin 18th May, 2017
I’ve been painting in oils again recently, revisiting a part of me left behind in youth. Though I would occasionally turn to them in adulthood and around family over a 30yr period I usually carved in systematic bursts instead or painted in water-colour between domestic duties as part of a practical ” needs must” approach to Art, I wrote occasionally too. However in my 50yr old present I have time to be expansive and get the oils going again and I’ve found that with them a return to a previous me goes hand in hand. My 18yr old self painted figurative narratives set in anonymous interiors led by psycho sexual drama’s inspired in part by Ibsen, Munch and Strindberg… the 18yr old me was a sort of pretentious Goth with no girlfriend and it showed in the oil paintings that leant against the walls of my parents garage. Quality wise they were good enough to get into Art School but not fashionable in a higher education system dominated by abstraction and many successive academic and social diversions including finally having a girlfriend opened a door away from cramped psycho sexual interiors to different expressions. Now with the urge returned to paint in oils, I’ve chosen to do so on canvas previously commenced and jettisoned by Lorna. This gives me her existing marks to strike out from and re-embrace the figurative. Not the confusion of youth anymore, an older more accepting face now peers from the canvas. Still faces and figures in interiors but without so much tension, commencing with my soulmates marks on the canvas allows me to transcribe connectivity in oils, same stuff of life in the subject matter with the same medium leading to a result further along a spectrum. I’ve not re-read Ibsen or Strindberg since my teenage years and deny being a Goth now despite loving early Cure, instead I’m having another go at something that is my version of a Munchesque cycle of life after living a little. Painting in oils leads me to this cycle and reacquaints me with that boy.
Finally, we are able to work in our new studio full time. We are in a glorious state of chaos, but are straight in to our respective projects and looking forward to developing more collaborative processes too. Neither of us have worked side by side with another artist for decades and to have the opportunity to create, collaborate and critique together is an absolute dream.
Our space is situated in a beautiful part of Suffolk, just ten mintes drive from Bury St Edmunds. The winding lanes that lead us to work are beautiful and are currently lined with thick clumps of snow drops. We can feel Spring burgeoning, just as we are with our brush and chisel in hand. We have been so used to working in our respected spaces at home all these years and now we can already feel the benefit of a little distance this studio brings – and I’m not too tempted to work into the night, when the light has failed and we arrive every morning, able to interpret our work refreshed and rested.
We are very disciplined and devoted to our creative process. It’s so exciting to be able to embrace a grander, more expressive scale and to work on several pieces simultaneously, as the space is such a good size.
Looking forward to posting the results here, as we work towards upcoming exhibitions and events as well as our sketches and doodles.
That day in Prague, whilst wandering the dream my eyes wide open and still on a view from her breast of hills, forest and Svitava below
My path in the warm snow between the dark is lit by her eye through a door swinging open, as fingers and hair touch me awake.
Stephen Kirin, Prague 16.02.2017