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Resting Place


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{image_alt} 17cm by 163cm Oil on Linen

The Grave in the painting is in Abney park Cemetery. So far, the only part of London Alex has ever painted in his work. 

The Cemetery is a famous Victorian resting ground for the founders of the Salvation army. The Resting place in the title refers to the possibility of being at peace in the mountains in a far off land and the frequent rests that are necessary whilst climbing at such altitudes, and the potentiality for permanent rest in the mortal sense. This overt christian symbolism at first may seem morbid, but refers to Alex's ongoing struggle to define the divine and everlasting in life through his art. However, the ivy and plants growing all over the grave are an allegory for eternal renewal and reabsorption of life. 

The Mountain is Mount Cook (Aoraki) in New Zealand. Named After Captain Cook who first successfully navigated and mapped Australia and New Zealand. Captain Cook was from the same North Yorkshire village as Alex Heaton, Great Ayton. In fact Alex spent many of his childhood years playing in Airyholm Cottage with his childhood friend Jacob Appleyard where the young Captain cook lived when he was a farm hand. The cottage is still haunted by a benign spirit. Captain cook went on to sail coal vessels from nearby Whitby, and from humble origins made his way up in the Royal Navy to his great exploits.

The Aurora in the painting serve to remind us of these far off wildernesses and the yearning dreams they evoke in us for exploration and self improvement. The Sámi peoples of Lapland once thought of the northern lights as the spirits of their ancestors rising from the earth to the heavens above. In one sense this is true as we are all but molecular constructs of dust born in the heart of dying stars. Could the lights have once been particles of an ancient intelligence born from the cosmic nurseries of nebula's? All these ideas coexist within the triangle, a holy trinity for the nuclear age.