Concept of work
I paint and draw compulsively. My earliest memories are of drawing by
holding a pencil, making circular motions and filling the page with the
shiny graphite. As a child I would collect hundreds of my scribbles, storing
them neatly so that I could look through them again. Drawing was especially
important to my experience and development, for as a dyslexic child, I
found reading and writing virtually impossible until the age of 11. Drawing
enabled my self-expression in a way that was not always acknowledged or
understood by others, but fulfilling nonetheless.
Printmaking has been central to how I developed my painting and drawing
practice. The technique of producing multiples has enabled me to explore
pictorial ideas. These are incorporated into paintings that often evolve
into series. I go back and forth between the two - printing and painting
- making consistent use of mono-printing to experiment and build up a
collection of material. I enjoy the way successive prints become richer,
more complex as they gain different textures and features and I rely on
the repetitive process to allow the random or happy accident to disrupt
the pursuit of the perfect print. Excitement comes from being able to
allow a work to shape itself.
Equipped with a collection of printed images, I approach the canvas with
a broad concept that is realized in a course of energetic actions: images
are collaged directly onto the canvas or painting is executed from above.
I enjoy being guided by the demands of very different materials ranging
from acrylic washes or impasto to silver and gold leaf. Through the technique
of pressing, sgraffito, collage, brushing, layering and more, I find an
image that animates the colours and forms I am working with.
My exploratory method of working prevents this abstract work from being
over-controlled and simply decorative. The beauty of the random mark may
only be subconsciously understood, but it has proved to be a constant
source of inspiration. The subconscious is a recurrent theme which I’ve
explored in a more literal series of painting and prints examining the
symbolism surrounding female icons of power such as Queen Elizabeth I.
As my work became more intuitive I later created a series of paintings
merging animal motifs I discovered within ancient Crete’s matriarchal
societies’ goddess worship and I merged these with Jungian archetypes.
My latest work returns me to the question of what preverbal meaning I
found in the pencil scribbles of my childhood. My various associations
with artists groups over the years have lead me to draw together colour
and form with performance. In addition to the print workshop I now experiment
in the studio with a collaborating performance artist, Helen Ward. This
has resulted in live performance pieces being enacted in the gallery space,
surrounded by the paintings in which the act of my earliest drawings of
circular page filling is distilled to the meditative concentration of
the single spiral. The live enaction of the spiral motion performed in
2005 suggested a kind of trance inducing dance, and helped me draw the
audience in to a enhanced relationship to painting. I hope to convey what
has been for me, an enchantment with art that has sustained me as a person
as well as an artist.
Processes and techniques
Mixed media painting