“But I’m not story telling, like Paula Rego. I’m reflecting the human condition, tapping into the collective consciousness, people – their surroundings; I’m ingested into their psyche … my hand and eye as a conduit…”
“In Somerville’s pure abstract work such as this, paint itself becomes the poetry, a lifting veil, a movement within layers, a present tense…”
He has also returned many times to rework religious themes from the old masters finding a reassurance in their grand human narratives. Is he religious in that sense?
“I have a strong sense of God… but more than that there’s a strong sense of the spiritual in what I do. I certainly tune into the subconscious.”
So not overtly a religious painter, Somerville has been repeatedly drawn to reworking big biblical and Christian themes that he feels passionate about. In 2004 he exhibited at St Vedast church in London his own huge renditions of the Stations of the Cross, inspired by Henry Matisse’s Mural in the Chapel of the Rosary, Vence; this was followed by Angels for these Modern Times at the Broadbent Gallery.