Eleanor Moreton: California Dreaming "The murder of Sharon Tate by The Family in August 1969 was one of the first truly frightening events I can recall. I remember trying to banish Charles Manson’s face, looking madly out from my parents’ newspaper, from my mind as I went to sleep. Faerie Folke2 uses an image of Manson’s Family at play near their home, Spahn Ranch, California.The change in scale places the family in some kind of enchanted world, as indeed they were.
The work in California Dreaming explores a particular period and site of my own history. Brought up in an uneventful Berkshire town, I was schooled in an ugly New Town down the road.There was disused 1930s theme park called California nearby.
Both my home town and the New Town were frontiers between the urban and the rural, and there is a counter narrative emerging in these pieces around people who inhabit the borderlands between town and country (suburbia); ‘civilization’ and wilderness. The painting Walden takes its title from the 19th century American book in which by the author, Henry David Thoreau, chronicles the two years, two months and two days he spent living a simple life in a cabin by Walden Pond, Lynn, Massachusetts.
Whilst the historical facts and my memory suggest that the early 1970s was a dreary period, both personally and nationally, when I revisit it in my imagination, I find it can become a fairyland, full of hope of escape, accompanied by a soundtrack of music I didn’t actually listen to.
My paintings use representation as a way to embody intuitive links, memories, music, trains of thought and feeling. In these works image comes to the fore and mutation and process, whilst still present, are more subtle. Thin paint allows the white of the ground constantly to inflect the paintings, like the lightness and air of my imaginary California." Eleanor Moreton