“Don’t wait for someone to do later what you can do now” said Wynton Marsalis. And so I didn’t. I came to drawing and painting having spent two decades working within the business of education before realising that Art was the answer, whatever the Question.
My work seeks to document the human condition, specifically our ability to survive in the face of adversity, to be resilient in times of difficulty and the role of hope when overcoming injustice.
Of increasing interest to me is how we change our outer self to overcome challenge and meet changing expectations, and whether this constant adaptation ultimately results in damage, compromise and a loss of the self.
My drawings focus on the solitary female figure, stemming from my being an only child, brought up by a single strong matriarchal figure as well as a network of strong, resilient, independent women.
My characters are created from found objects, people and images in the world of Fashion and Design at times sourced from within contemporary publications. Having spent my childhood surrounded by Fashion and Design I am drawn to these sources. I take these objects and people and re-work, de-face or transform them creating a feeling of solitude, transition and introspection. I seek to create a lexicon of characters which when put together within a frieze, a wallpaper or a scroll collude to create a narrative interpreted by the viewer through the eyes of their own experience.
At times, I use repetition to create a dialogue, pose a question and seek the limits of the image. By repeating an action, over and over, the muscles become weak and tired, the hand metaphorically starts to slip and errors creep in. It is within these so called ‘errors’ that I look for the 'human'; that is human imperfection. In this digital age of perfect rendering, is it in fact imperfection that we can relate to, that we are. It can be argued that the constant compulsion to be perfect, and the inevitable impossibility of the task is resulting in a society rife with social alienation and mental illness. Questions are raised around neoliberalism and its cousin meritocracy.
Such repetition can also be interpreted as a reflection upon our propensity as humans to repeat patterns of behaviour throughout our lives, hoping for a different outcome despite evidence to suggest otherwise. Repetition within my practice goes some way to being both cathartic and meditative; the benefits of such practice extolled from an appreciation of meditation and Buddhism.
Whatever the subject or medium each image and stroke is individual yet the sum is far greater than its component parts: when painting it contains what I think of as a scaffolding of colour or when drawing in monochrome my images, I trust, convey an assemblage of meaning beyond the simplicity of the individual.
In painting my desire to create a framework of colour and define the edge leads to intuitive, almost indigenous mark-making, rendering images that combine both an intense gaze and a fearless love of colour, impact and the human condition. Paintings are always in oils with a need for presence, scale and strength incorporating gilded gold to represent the role faith and hope in times of difficulty.
Whether working with paint, pastel, wax, clay, ink or graphite images are mostly semi-abstract figurative works displaying the juxtaposition of inner vulnerability and outer strength; hope and futility. Fluidity and change, The bold and the gentle.
I have a long-standing interest in child-psychology as well as the works of contemporary philosophers such as John Gray and A C Grayling; the difference between Hope and Optimism, thoughts on Determinism and human progression and the role of the Genetics within human behaviour. Together with this I am drawn to Psychiatry, in particular the writing of practitioners such as Dorothy Rowe and F Scott Peck and their thoughts on loss, grief, separation and depression.
After all is said and done I simply love the freedom and peace that painting, drawing and sculpting provides; I simply seek to get out whatever is within.