Neill Fuller, On The Slide, 2017, Oil and acrylic on linen © Neil Fuller, Courtesy of Collyer Bristow Gallery, London
Could you explain this work?
"On the Slide" is a still-life painting. I assembled a group of objects that were chosen for their ability to become part of an active group that alluded to an ambiguous and playful space. They include a toy plastic slide, a pencil, some rubber window wedges, some cut wood and a yellow ping-pong ball... the tableaux is lit with artificial light and painted variously from life, and then away from the objects. The title refers to a psychological state where someone might feel that things weren’t going too well, or of course, it can simply refer to being on a slide.
What does this piece deal with?
This piece uses the still-life genre and its formal structures as a starting point to explore a number of interests. These include the importance of play in the act of making and engaging with art, the tension between abstract and representational painting, and the formal issues of colour, shape, light and form – the language of painting. I am also interested in the inherent spirit in places and spaces, the hidden life of objects, and the idea that still-life is sometimes seen as an underdog within the art genres.
What medium and techniques did you use?
The surface is an acrylic primed linen. There is a vivid under-painting which is then either tempered by other layers of oil paint, or allowed to remain untouched.
What were the struggles of making it?
The struggle is the same with every painting, hoping to make something that retains its material and psychological interest. Because I often use bits of toys, there is a danger that the work can seem twee or nostalgic. I want the work to go beyond these states to somewhere more ambiguous and perhaps darker. They are finished when this is achieved. From a technical point of view, you always want to find that "sweet spot" in painting, something that is well executed but not killed.
What is the purpose behind this work?
This work, like all others, tries to soak up all of the interests that I have, and leave something that is slightly open ended – both for myself, to take into the next painting, and for the viewer. Hopefully this also helps create a two-way dialogue with other work by other artists.