- Stuart Mealing
Having gone straight from school to art school to study fine art I found myself still there forty years later when it came to retirement. During that time I worked mainly with a mixture of cross-disciplinary media until a change of direction led me into research and writing which led to a number of published works.
My work has never been produced to be shown to an audience, it’s just me talking to my self. I like ideas and found that playing with them in an art school/studio context led to me making objects that were visual and (usually) wall-hung. In the past when I exhibited work it was without ever having made a conscious decision that I wanted to do so. I worked surrounded by artists however and exhibiting seemed to be what one did, so when I was invited to show my work I simply went along with it. An early exhibition was a one-man show at the Serpentine Gallery in London and that led to work being shown over the years in a range of galleries around the UK. It has been a long time now since I exhibited anywhere however and I hold no plans to do so again, though I’m open to the possibility that might change.
Over the years I’ve reworked my view of what I understand ‘art’ to be and have narrowed it down now to being what gets produced when someone knowingly sets out to produce art. Since I’ve never set out to produce art I can’t therefore claim anything I’ve produced as art though I do, of course, understand what is generally meant by people when they speak of ‘art’. My own definition necessarily excludes some things often labelled as art (e.g. child art) but that doesn’t mean that I consider the products of those categories are any less valuable than those of ‘knowing’ art, often just the opposite. ‘Art’ isn’t a value judgement, it’s a category.
After many years of involvement in the world of visual art however I find I am increasingly passionate about it - but also increasingly selective. I want to spend my time immersed in things that I find worthwhile and I now rapidly judge (or perhaps misjudge) and choose to ignore much art that is on offer. Life is too short to be polite with viewing choices.
I’ve lived in Devon since the early eighties, am now settled in Appledore, and have returned within the last two years to exploratory studio practice - though without yet knowing where that journey might take me. Initial experiments seem to be about how marks can carry meaning beyond their original context, currently the human figure, and the media I’m using at the moment are, for the first time, traditional. For a number of years now, and for very different reasons, I have been particularly interested in Auerbach, Twombly and Schiele. Also in zen and AI.
The images shown here are not presented as immutably ‘finished’ work but serve to illustrate recent moments on the odyssey. Some might be kept, some might be worked on further, most will probably be discarded as my past work has usually been.