Sunday, August 21, 2016


Have you been to Vietnam?
Hanoi is were this short story started for me, the painting came later.

I visited that vast and densely populated city earlier this year. A cold snap of weather had drifted from China down to the northern parts of Laos and Vietnam - so unseasonably cold for that time of year that people were caught by surprise and wandered around the city of Luang Prabang wrapped in bed sheets in an effort to keep warm.

When we arrived in Hanoi it was still wet and cold. My parents were traveling with Boo and I, and efforts had been made to accommodate their interests, including a visit to the square and mausoleum of General Ho Chi Minh.

The atmosphere I felt as we circled the square looking for an entrance was alien and unwelcoming. The mausoleum stood in dark granite backed by a forboding grey sky. The building was fronted by a strong bold red typeface and grey block paving on which people shuffled into line to queue. The soldiers who filed people into line looked untrusting - no welcome was given - no smile - no colour - 'no cameras' - 'no talking'! All you could hear was the sound of wet boots along the red plastic carpet cover which lead us towards and into the monolith.

The remains of venerated General lay there in that vast silent chamber, a ghastly colour of orange light cast over his face. He was plastic and unreal. It was the most uncomfortable architectural space my body had ever entered. I wanted out!

While creating this piece I was surprisingly reminded of that day and my experience of the tomb.
In a way I feel this painting makes battle with my memory of that colourless place - that unnatural space and mummification of life.

A small orange colour note placed along the granite slab nods to my memory of the body of the general. Light and the play of colour and reflection pervades even in shadow.

Monolith, 2016
oil on linen - [24x24in] 60x60cm
PM me for details on this piece.

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