Greg Rook, Artist and Course Director, Fine Art, London South Bank University
Hours before Paris suffered a series of devastating attacks last week, I spoke to the contemporary artist Greg Rook about his latest collection of paintings, entitled Off-grid. For much of his painting career, Greg has been intrigued by communities of people who exist on the margins of society, sustained by the rigours of their own belief system. In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, this preoccupation with survivalism feels strangely prescient.
|The Good Life by Greg Rook|
Through his early depictions of cowgirls/boys in the American West, Greg explored the myth of the "guy out on his own, working out what right and wrong should be". Comparing the dusty, raw linen on which he chose to paint with the rough ground of the American landscape, Greg explains how the lone figure became a metaphor for his position as a contemporary artist. Later he became interested in the hippy communes of the 1970s and their dream of an enlightened future that never quite came to pass. Greg refers to this notion as "past potential futures" - in other words, hopes for the future that were not fulfilled.