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I have always seen the subjects of my paintings as a ‘still life’. Nature’s still life. ’Still life’ found within the landscape where I now live. Currently the Wienerwald on the edge of the city of Vienna, together with on-going trips to the Campagna of central Italy on the Lazio/Abruzzo border.
These are still moments. The moment remains crucial in all my work. The passing moment, the seen moment. I ask myself 'Where does this moment begin?' and 'Where does it end?'. To help me answer these questions, it is essential for me to form a relationship with the subject I have chosen to depict.
I must ‘know’ the subject and thus cement the idea for a painting. I must give ‘time’ for the relationship to be fulfilled. A moment of time and beyond. I want to capture the moment but I also want the memory. A memory within a moment. Or perhaps a moment within a memory.
I visualise ‘the painting’ in the landscape before I begin a work. I must imprint this image in my mind. I will draw from the same spot countless times whilst making a larger canvas work. Through this, a relationship with the subject is formed. From this ‘imprint' my paintings are made.
In most cases the larger canvas works are constructed over two years, two seasons. At the end of the first season with a subject, I almost force myself to forget the painting. However, the more I force myself to forget, the more the image remains and is embedded in my thinking.
When I return the following season, the idea is there for me, once more, but I am forced to observe and remember the previous moment. From this, the new moment, can be secured, through the act of working back into the canvas. Building the physical surface of the work. Building time into the work.
Throughout this process, the paintings become more constructed. Painting is a process which allows for this. It is a process of making. I am driven by the unique language the substance of paint holds. My ideas are born out of a love for the substance of paint.
I see paintings as objects. I construct my paintings, using information I gather from within the forest; drawings, watercolours, small oil studies.
The way in which we view the world, the way we see it, changes every moment. With this, the ‘art’ of looking can change, but it is not replaced.
How and what we see will always be determined by the methods that are available to use. Painting continues to play a vital role within this. For these reasons, I make these paintings.
Noel Paine studied at the City & Guilds of London Art School (Foundation, 1990-91); the University of Wales, Cardiff (BA, Art and Aesthetics, 1st Class Hons Painting, 1991-94); and the University of Kent, Canterbury (MA, Fine Art, 1996-98).
While studying, Noel travelled to the USA which proved to be an influential time for research and practical development in his early career. Upon returning to London in 1996, he began to work on paintings which would extend into the work he makes today. This focuses on scenes of the environment he inhabits, this has resulted in his ‘London East End’ series, and, since 2008, when he has been living and working in Italy and Austria, an ongoing series of works with historical and stylistic influences from Lazio and the landscape of the Austrian countryside.