:: Multi-Panel Friezes: A Rising Dynamic In My Work ::

In April 2023, I released a statement on social media about the future direction of my creative work: multi-panel friezes, and the integration of art, poetry and music through film.

"In an age where images are generated at unparalleled speed, when mythopoetic experience is a distant memory or belongs to the non-Western Other, 'Boundary Strider' arrives with a different vision: an imagistic exploration of the more-than-human, the natural world and the slow art of the hand." – Iain Whittaker, Boundary Strider, 2022

“Bruce Rimell’s vivid panorama renders shimmering sensations that function like queer hieroglyphs, focusing our attention on what he calls Beyond-The-Self Exploration.” – Shivaun Weybury, Envisioning Hope: Notes on Boundary Strider, 2022

Are We Orbiting...? Frieze image

My art fuses the flowing lines of Keith Haring, the archaic structures of Mesoamerican codices, the introspective vitality and liminal contact of visionary art, the fractured anatomies of my own aesthetic style, and a kind of hyperactive visual engagement.

It occupies a space-between, straddling genres and boundaries in ways that make it incredibly difficult to find its place in contemporary art worlds, and while my ADHD offers me unbridled creativity across several practices – art, poetry, music, film – the executive dysfunction aspects of this neurodiversity means that I struggle to understand how to do the work to get this unique, shimmering imagery to be seen.

In the past few years I have been steadily surrendering to this foundational flow in my life, allowing the outsider lack of access to change me in more positive ways than I have previously entertained. I am increasingly moving towards non-commercial practices in which I see my job is simply: to create. And to let my own eyes be enough.

I am an uncompromising sort of person. Very few people get to see my work, and even fewer are ready to make any kind of purchase. I could react to this like any normal person: seek to make commercialised, more sellable or accessible work, try to figure out the labyrinthine complexities of social media algorithms (ah, but I am more Minotaur than Theseus!), or fall stutteringly into a kind of sad bitterness that is the emotional landscape of many artists who feel they have failed.

Chaos Within Frieze Half

If people aren’t buying, I won’t seek to entertain that arena any more, but go bigger, less accessible, more towards simply fulfilling creative ambitions, regardless of the scale, cost, or inability to fit within financial imperatives. I have chosen a different path, one which emphasises a custom which has been present – sometimes latent, sometimes overt – in my arts practice for years: creating multi-panel friezes.

This particular flow began in 2009, with a multi-panel mosaic/frieze artwork Honey For The Mistress Of The Labyrinth, and continued a year later with two triptychs, Shadows of the San and 'My Blood Is Red Ochre But My Heart Is Made From Stars'. The Eleusis series from 2011-12 also played with multi-panel media, as did the 2012 work She Is In My Blood She Is My Shining Blood. My thirteen-panel Voice Project (currently still a work-in-progress) was also begun around this time.

The next few years saw this practice fall into latency: only in 2017 did I produce another triptych, Chiguexica Muisca ~ Our Muisca Ancestors, followed in late 2019 by Chaos Within The Heart Of The Son Of The Sun Because I Love The Brother Of The Moon, a queer, graphical longform drawing produced as an tribute to the late great Keith Haring. A thirteen-panel UV painting frieze in 2020, Sparkling Isolation, sought to be the first step in bridging gaps between my art and music.

Sparkling Isolation Frieze

It wasn’t until late 2021, when seeking to produce new work for an upcoming and very prestigious art exhibition in Wollongong, Australia in September 2022, that I thought to lean into the multi-panel artwork medium with full commitment. The result was the five-panel frieze Are We Orbiting Simulated Lives, Or Memories Of Everything, Everything All At Once…? which effectively fused art, poetry, music and film into a seamless whole.

The success of this led me from summer 2022 onwards to look at two dormant projects with new eyes. The Ecstasy In Me was originally planned to be a seven-part series of sexual self-portraits, graphic but visionary in tone, of which three had been completed up to 2020. This was now recast as a triptych.

The second project, Human Visions, was an unfinished series of nine longform portrait images of visionary intensity which had, from its inception, always been understood by curators as forming a larger whole. The series was now fused into a single, repeating image across nine panels – or ‘nonaptych’ as I coined it in a January 2023 social media post – entitled Nonaptych Of My All-Too-Human Visions.

At the time of writing, the only singular (single-panel) artworks I am likely to create for the foreseeable future will be as cover images for my poetry publications. Beyond that, it is friezes all the way, beginning with a new large-scale triptych with the working title ‘The Triptych Of Sorrow’, and ‘Beacon’, a vertical work.

A Minoan-inspired eleven-panel frieze, ‘The Way To Starry Mountain’, first conceived in 2009, may also finally begin to see the light of day, depending on my ability to again visit a certain mountain in Crete, Mt Petsofas, in the coming years, as well as the possibilities of a poetry volume on the same theme.

Human Visions Frieze Details

And so it is, that with the modification of both of these projects from series into friezes, and the conception of future works in this vein I am starting to nail my new colours to this non-commercial wall. By this transition, and these simultaneously new-but-old directions I am pursuing, I am here stating that I shall not allow my lack of financial success in the art world, or lack of influence on social media, to impinge in any way upon my artistic achievements, past or future.

I am rejecting the ‘fast fashion’ of the contemporary art world, its modish fads, from AI pseudo-art to NFT markets – which pretend a shining future but disguise sociopathic politics and disturbing economics behind the façade – in favour of the slow art of the hand, the intimate imagery of the heart, and the whispered words into the painted soul of the poet.

My artistic achievements will remain, as far as I am concerned – and even though I say so myself – a living body which is unique, idiosyncratic and bloody spectacular!

Bruce Rimell, April 2023


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