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Feb' 7TH 2018. Issue 29, 'THE WEDNESDAY' Online Philosophy Paper

IT magazine, Article published July 2018,

About Looking.


Painting makes more sense than anything else ....

It is the closest thing to nature, almost to the point that you becomes nature itself in the act of creating.

The freedom and letting go of 'who we Think we are' allows us to express ourselves creatively,

visually in this case. 


Painting, as in nature has its opposite poles.... 

It is the relationship between Order and Chaos that creates harmony, tension and balance within the painting, regardless of subject matter.

A good painting, whether figurative, landscape or abstract are all challenged with these same set of criteria's.

To know whether a painting is successful or not, without having to look at a label, price tag or stamp of approval from the so called (Art World)experts.


 You must first absorb what is in front of you, and look(but not with the logic of the mind) at the painting.

Stop thinking(Tabula Rasa) and try to allow thoughts and questions that may arise('whats all this about?', that doesn't look right?', 'I like that!', 'i don't understand it?', 'thats a beautiful passage!', etc.....) to pass through you, don't try to answer those questions until you have absorbed the painting


Allow your eye to roam over the painting, where ever it wants to go.

Use your mind to observe your emotional response to the painting.

Through this time spent looking/absorbing, you will have collected a variety of feelings and thoughts, and this will be your starting point for that particular painting.

From this starting point, and the more you look at paintings this way, the more you will be able to start to understand what is successful as a painting and what you like in particular about certain paintings.

Looking is a perspective, and the more you can understand your perspective, the clearer you will be able to see.


"Simplicity and the Obvious are too easily overlooked"


Mike England's work reflects his belief that the more you learn the less you know. "I'm into paint", he says simply. "Painting on canvas. It's as old as the hills". Indeed, there is nothing clever about the paintings, no point of reference on which the viewer may hang concepts, and thereby feel intelligent. In place of cleverness, there is rigour and humility in the face of this ancient medium.


Mike is a filter for his environment.

He works in a small studio in East London. Through his window he tracks the changing light of a big sky, he absorbs the hub and motion of urban life.


The canvasses are each a map of Mike's quest for visual harmony. They reflect the harmony in the object world; the balance and tension between colour, texture and line; between order and chaos, flux and stasis. Vertical stripes may recall the migrating bands of TV sets, those alternative windows through which we view the world. They may also remind us the inherent delay of perception, of the relationship between time and distance.


Mike's work is non-referential. It aspires to pure feeling. If we can look at the paintings as we apprehend music or gaze at the sea, or watch an electric storm, then we become accessible to them. 


The floating blocks of colour, the soft yellows and blues and the vibrant reds, the successive layers of paint, create an ethereal quality, a sense of shifting motion. Mike wishes to blur the boundaries of perception. The eye floats across the canvas. It will not find a recognisable image, a focal point generating meaning. This is the vocation of advertising and Mike's work is the opposite of advertising. If advertising images are signs attached to meaning then Mike's paintings cut images off from meaning so that they may float away like balloons, freeing the mind.                                                       

Lucy Wadham.  (Writer)


I am drawn to the paint; swathes of colour determined by the dynamics of the surface.

Structures and spaces sit somewhere between the second and third dimension, painterly episodes hang on the bones of composition.There is a sense of scale to these canvases, Even the small ones seem large, the large ones closer.

Although London (and even more specifically the square mile) is the backdrop for Michael's activity in and around his studio, I don't see any reference to a specific location.

The painter is not so much representing a city as building his own painterly form replacing bricks and steel, poetry compensating for the dull glow of urban myth, his vision generating the power that changes these surfaces.

Urban form is simply a platform from which the painter can dive into his unique journey, through creativity and expression.

The paintings are about the nature of balance, rhythm and harmony, a visual event from one edge to the other; each mark a testament to the activities that overlap and intertwine on the surface and underneath it, within a painting and within an urban environment, as the viewer watches with interest. 


  Jon Lane (Painter)

Mike England's recent paintings oscillate between harmonic fusion and conflict, between spacial illusion and surface treatment, between subject and object.Their composition is as elementary as the subject constructed on axes of both vertical and horizontal symmetry, expressed by a seductive, rock bottom vocabulary of irregular widths and intervals.

His confident use of excessive saturated brilliance of colour warming the stark uninhabited urban landscape.Awesomely simple yet awesomely complex, perpetuating the Northern Romantic landscape painting tradition of the artist responding directly to his environment andInterpreting it into paint on canvas.Michael though is not a "plein air" painter; his practice is that of a studio painter.Only his subliminal scanning of his inner cities surroundings, his notations whilst wandering the streets, his reference.Anyone who considers them selves to be a city dweller will be at home and comfortable with Michael's structural language and its metropolitan influences.                                       

 Mike Ozouf (Painter/Designer)

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