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Gareth Sansom No man is an island

oil and enamel on linen

183.5 x 244 cm; 185 x 246 cm framed

At the halfway stage of this work, the shapes began to resemble a floating island reminiscent of Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin’s third painting of The isle of the dead 1883, which features towering cliff faces. I then developed the painting further, with Böcklin in mind.

At around the same time, I came across John Donne’s prose work Devotions upon emergent occasions 1624 in which two lines are memorable: ‘No man is an island’ and ‘For whom the bell tolls’. I use the first of these as my title, noting that we should feel a sense of belonging to the whole of the human race.

Gareth Sansom, 2020