For me, the Battle of Anghiari has become a fascinating and mysterious journey: an ongoing project open to new experiences which enable me to connect the historical past with the new technologies. The use of computers offered the possibility to try various compositions based on the original single sketches by Leonardo as suggested by the speculative findings in this subject by the most important historians to date.
My work never intended to reproduce historical truth but it strives to reveal a new dynamism and energy that arise from the clash of the figures in Leonardo's sketches as if they were suspended in time.
Sometimes I think my paintings have something to do with being very shallowly in experience of the world so much of the time - not just the outside, the physical world, but even the emotional narrative of one's own life. I never normally speak of the work as self-expression or autobiography of any sort - why should anyone be interested? But I think I often feel rather outside my own life and world, and very much outside history, too, with no really strong feelings of owning and being owned by history. And yet my impulse, and that of the work, is against estrangement. It is the opposite of so much art that restates (even when it denies it, or doesn't know it's doing so) our all-too-well-recognized 'alienation.' The pictures are a depiction of a world of meaning intensely valued because all-but-lost.
Excerpt from a conversation between James Hyde and Merlin James for the Journal of Contemporary Art, Inc. Copyright 1999.