Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot began as a series of images in response to the play/book of the same name by Samuel Beckett. These were begun perhaps ten years ago now but I have returned to them often principally because the themes in Waiting for Godot and how I approached and depicted them was I think very successful.
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About this series

Waiting for Godot began as a series of images in response to the play/book of the same name by Samuel Beckett. These were begun perhaps ten years ago now but I have returned to them often principally because the themes in Waiting for Godot and how I approached and depicted them was I think very successful. What I mean is this: in the play the scenario, dialogue and the thematics all serve to offer us a sense of expectancy countered by a feeling of futility; the absurdity of the human condition. Though it is not entirely without hope there is no resolution nor certainty.

The characters within the play with whom (as we always do as viewers or reader) we might identify do not and cannot offer us these things either. What happens to us as viewers, it seems to me, is that the play forces us to realize that we must rely upon ourselves to confront (or not) the ongoing, fundamental questions 'Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?' that the play raises. This is quite a profound thing for a work of art to do so the question to myself was: how does one show this in an aesthetic form, as an image or series of images, indeed how does one depict a question?.

Hinted at but not defined in the play is the ebb and flow of time: we do not necessarily know what time of day it is, but we are certain that time is passing rather than merely suspended.

I've always been interested in abstract art (in the western tradition as well as others) but I have always had a feeling that perhaps there is really no such thing: can an image really exist without reference to anything other than itself at all and wouldn't that be almost nihilistic?. So you see the question then becomes really very philosophical - and the play too. It becomes a question about the boundary between being and nothingness. Even if at its inception a painting or an image is abstract nevertheless the execution of making a painting is at least in part a conscious process. Waiting for Godot seemed to me to be a very good place to begin an enquiry in to these themes and questions pictorially. There are horizons,boundaries and divisions of a sort but what I tried to do with these is to put multiple horizons in each picture- some distinct, some indistinct and to place these horizons at levels within the image which interfered with the viewers ability to find the actual or rather expected horizon- the place where ordinarily the horizon might appear i.e. on the golden section on the lower or upper third. If we cannot read the exact horizon then it follows that we cannot orient ourselves in reference to it.

Imagine being on a boat at sea far from land, there is a mist or a fog and there are gentle undulating waves. Imagine you are standing at the front of this vessel looking out as, occasionally, the mist clears a little then coalesces again- perhaps, as it seems to you, a little higher or lower and all the while the light is changing as somewhere above the mist the sun moves in and out of cloud. Imagine this happening for some time, you do not know how long yet you know time must be passing and nor do you know if you are moving forward or possibly drifting in quite another direction while all around it is silent. You are fully aware that you are right there and yet you are surrounded and in a sort of no-thing-ness. Well isn't this exactly what the human condition is? Yet it is not an unpleasant feeling on this boat, nor I hope in my images in this series and in this way I feel I have complementarity reflected the issues raised in both the play and responded to that question 'Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?' by showing that truly, it's quite immaterial.

From an interview with Prof Maham Meiqani for Herfe Honarmand and Tandis Journal Iran 2015