Artist's Statement – Alan Senior 2010
In 2007, after the completion of my book Suburban Visions and my long awaited trip to Japan, I returned to the UK and to subjects inspired by Nature and natural patterns. Natural patterns have a special magic for me. They are the outcome of partly random processes involving wind, water, growth, packing and time and have been explored formally in Chaos Theory, in Mandelbrot's Fractal Geometry and have been expressed poetically by Zen poets in their haiku. The insights of Zen opens our eyes to the magic of the ordinary: a few pebbles, a tree, a fragment of beach or just the patterns found in Nature offer the artist a whole Universe to explore.
Music has always played its part in the creation of new works: recently the ethereal and rhythmic sounds of Ambient Electronic Music, beginning with Brian Eno and more recently Marconi Union and Loscil. Their music evokes for me the natural world through abstract means as I attempt to produce a kind of visual ambience that is everywhere in Nature: a breeze disturbing the grasses or dust floating in the sunlight.
I approach each painting in a state of suspended anticipation. There are threads that guide me but I don't know in detail what will happen so I'm always surprised and I'm always looking for the universal in the particular. In general I work in one of two ways: using a few transparent earth colours built up in layers with an emphasis on form or alternatively, using richer, opaque colours with more emphasis on colour and sensory delight.
I am now using fluid acrylic on heavy watercolour paper and have moved away from earlier figurative works painted in acrylic on gesso. Controlled accidents such as splashing, spattering and working wet-in-wet on paper are the means by which I can evoke those natural patterns impossible to create with a brush. With this comes a new degree of freedom and openness and I relish the random elements that appear spontaneously.