The former Stone Roses guitarist John Squire's new painting Dilate reveals three panel circles of tweed, silk and floral nylon fabric. "The fabric was taken from a pink ladies' twinset," says Squire. "The tweed fabric was the most heavily fragranced – most of it has a smell of tobacco." Another painting, Winter Landscape, maps two lines in tweed and silk against a green and blue background, complete with a clothing label. "It was just there as I was chopping through the fabric," he says.
Squire is better known for his Jackson Pollock-style paint splashes for The Stone Roses' album sleeves than he is for creating artworks out of second-hand garments from thrift shops and eBay. He switched full-time from making music to creating art in 2004, and works from a barn in the Peak District.
Sourcing old clothes is a new development for the artist, whose previous paintings used paint, plaster, wax and sand. "The new work came to me in a flash after my last show in 2007," says Squire. "It needed to be almost a negative of the previous body of work. In the past I had put the all the detail into the linear forms and the background was essentially neutral. Now I'm refining the work and making it more calm and still. I started to question why I was obliterating the paintings by covering them in sand and glue. Was it that I was putting a barrier between me and the painting? This led me to decided to use English fabric in an attempt to explore the British trait of being reserved."
The first painting in this series, Converse, is a busy collage of layered brown shapes made of tweed, silk, nylon and heavy Indian paper; after this Squire simplified the work. "I usually pluck a title out of the air. It's unusual for me to name it after looking at the work, but the title suggests to me two figures in conversation."
What does the future hold? "I've got a lot of lovely coats to try on and chop up," he says. "I found a dense black Crombie coat that was hard to let go of as it fitted me perfectly."
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