In many ways this is a self-portrait in an artist-made frame. Like many of Ken’s works, the art is not contained within the frame but instead possesses it, out of control and overspilling, symbolising that art is life, that everything is the art, and it cannot be contained in tidy objects. Ken himself says that a painting is a three-dimensional object with sides, back and front, rather than a neat picture contained on a flat surface.
The title represents, not simply wandering without purpose, but cyclically or rhythmically moving through places which are returned to again and again. The painting is full of motifs of movement: the boot, the car, the movement of the planets. It is an act of defiance against conventional life, a refusal to be constrained into one location.
This painting is a mindscape, a mapping of the thoughts contained in the brain of an artist who thinks in visual terms, a vision of, not just the discrete objects, but the relationships between them. Just like reading hieroglyphics, you can read the meaning, but it exists and is influenced by context.
The central face labelled rebel is Ken; among the other symbols is the Picasso-esque face to the bottom right, which is sometimes the muse and sometimes Venus, sometimes the demands of the real world. The ambulance refers to a near-death experience when his heart was restarted three times; the world ‘art’ centred in the word ‘Earth’ is a recurring motif, meaning ‘your art is your fullest expression of your life’ ‘Art’ is sometimes also centred in the word ‘heart’, the fundamental drive of life.
The red dog is often near a canopic jar, symbolising the afterlife and representing Anubis, God of the underworld, guardian and protector of the dead. As a 79-year-old artist with a recent experience of mortality, each painting consciously stands as an object which will survive its creator.