From Perfume to Birdsong

Dean Melbourne

Category: Blog

07.01.2015 – death of potential

 Gargoyle II  , oil on board , 2015 . 

  The process note 1:

I have been here before. In the development of a body of work there is a stage where I  face the sadness of the death of potential in the work. 

The relentlessness of time and the essential need to take action of some sort sees a boundless vision become grounded by the limitations of my mind and hands. 

Note 2 :

The conundrum that without a clear vision to walk towards there is a lot of risk. However the only thing that will lead to a clear vision is doing something , anything. 


24.12.2013 – Internal Critical Model

Working with my mentor has challenged me to take a good hard look at my practise, my progress and my critical thinking. He has challenged me to re engage with critical thinking and challenged me to find an ” internal critical model” . A simple notion that sits as an over arching framework that all of my work fits into. Not a statement as such but something that ties all of the threads of what I do together.

I have always tried to work this way, from the inside out that its, rather than choosing issues or concepts to male work about. It feels the right way round for me. This way of working has its pitfalls though. Self indulgence, sentimentality, cliche are all potential problem areas I have strayed into. I now see that recognition and awareness is all that is required.

My research and exploration of areas of interest have lead me to come closer to understanding what it is that drives the work and forms my decision making framework. This has allowed me to form a more precise diagnosis  of areas of dissatisfaction in previous work. In concept, process and realisation. Below is an attempt at setting out a guiding principle for the first time outside of a notebook. I imagine there will be many iterations.

I use drawing,painting and printmaking to observe, record and reveal my psychology. To make myself the subject of research. To once remove myself from the effects of my drives, motivations and idiosyncrasies. Although I will still use the effects as visual code my wider over arching concern is the slowly  emerging causality. In simple terms, I will make paintings of nature at night, but underlying this effect should be an exploration of internal conflict, repetitions, parallel thoughts, fetishes, primal drives and social or cultural conditionings.

By noticing the way i respond to both internal cycles of thinking and external influences and using the code of art making to reveal my understandings to the world I hope to uncover and comment on not only the stimuli but on the more deeply rooted motivations.

In likely hood my work i hope will only slowly reveal these changes as I understand that slow evolution is better than any forced revolution.

My first two new bodies of work will explore my interest in our more primal urges and the ways in which we blur the line from human to animal. These new pieces will reference the british landscape tradition of symbolically employing nature to reveal something of our condition. The other will explore similar idea but from a contemporary angle. Revealing how when faced with new technology humans are inevitably driven to use it to meet their primal urges.

The blog for the next couple of months will be a place to posit thoughts and progress in my thinking as i begin to create new work with this framework starting to take shape.

27.3.2013 – On the other side

How did I find myself at 2am in the ice banging on a neighbours door demanding that they turned off their musical Christmas tree that echoed up the chimney breast and in to my room.

A shocked face appeared apologetically and more than a little bewildered at the door.

This wasn’t the first time. I had been the angry neighbour for a while. Semidetached small council housing from the thirties were built often with hollow. Floors and very solid walls. The bouncing grandchildren became the fixation my anxiety needed.

I was ill back then I realise that now. Since then my neighbours and I have been distant. They are a lovely old couple, a little deaf so the war films are a little loud and conversation is not always easy. But good good people. They never trusted me after the insanity of the Christmas tree.

Geoff died last night.

My amazing wife performed CPR with the ambulance crew for 40mins. I sat on the other side of the wall oblivious. She arrived home from her shift as a intensive care sister as the ambulance pulled up. I’m so proud that she was able to help.

His wife will be alone I guess now. They have sons and grandchildren around.

I’m sorry that what you saw of me was my illness. I’m sorry that it had a impact on your life. That I wasn’t the neighbour I could have been.

Oh perfect Dean lets make the death of a man about you….

Yellow disk sun through snow clouds. Upstairs curtain remain drawn