School of Art
Ken Elias: Finding a way
Paintings and Photomontage Work20 February – 24 March 2006
From the early seventies when I first exhibited my work, I worked almost exclusively through the medium of collage and photomontage to make small scaled images that were often disturbing images. They were deliberately disturbing, in that they wanted to tell or provoke the viewer into asking something about him or herself and the world in which the viewer lived. It is difficult to dismiss disturbing images, they remain a long time in the visual memory.
As the middle years of my life approached with the eighties I felt the need to return to painting. The narratives grew more personal and autobiographical. I attempted to describe at the time what I was trying to do as - 'creating something solid and substantial out of memory, creating a kind of geometry of my earlier life'.
In January 1994, I came to live quite close to my first home, and directly opposite where my grandmother lived during my childhood. As an adult these locations still exude a kind of resonance and serve repeatedly as places where paintings are encouraged to happen.
This experience of revisiting landmarks, where I played as a child, has freed me to take part in a more adult form of play, a creative play, that like childhood play, is unhampered by the restrictions of logic or common sense. Reclaiming the landscape of childhood with an adult vision.
'Finding a way' to an earlier place has not been confined to a geographical journey. Most recently, I have looked again at that early photomontage work of the seventies, and as a consequence, elements of collage and photomontage that were used as a main means of expression in earlier work, are now reappearing and being combined with the medium of painting. This mixing media has encouraged the use of a mixed visual language and perhaps even more rewardingly it has enabled a combination of film narrative with a personal narrative, that often succeeds as an even 'darker proof'.
The exhibition was organised and toured by Newport Museum and Art Gallery, where the work was shown from 20 May – 2 July 2005.