My work is concerned with paint’s ability to visually describe and reinvent. Currently, I aim to make paintings that balance between figuration and abstraction, whilst also engaging with being able to rearrange both space and sense of depth on the canvas through composition and layering.
To find this balance between figuration and abstraction, I’ve been painting from less coherent imagery which encourages this painterly experimentation and visual ambiguity. I paint from photographs of explosions which appear haphazard and lacking in definition and in another series of paintings, I depict forest fires where translucent flames interrupt some of the sense of depth resulting in each composition breaking down into a patchwork landscape made up of both possible perspective and map-like flatness.
In part this work is painted from life and photographic image, in a figurative style. In other areas the picture is invented, these areas tend to consider more the process of painting and sometimes drift into abstraction. Any uncertainty in what I’m painting becoming a chance to improvise or further breakdown in order to then rearrange surfaces, volumes and spaces.
I would love to use the opportunity to develop and show a selection of this recent work, developing these paintings in a direction which will expand on the way ambiguity and deconstruction can encourage dynamic interpretation.
I started something along these lines whilst I was an artist in residence on the Trelex Residency programme in Switzerland. I began looking for my own ways to interfere with a straightforward image and rather than work from just one, I started to draw from multiple images for use on the same painting. I would paint partly from life, from the forests surrounding the residency building, as well as from some photographs I had taken looking at lichen patterns growing on stone, amidst which I took to imagining forests within. Furthermore, I also painted from an installation I created in the local woods where I draped large cuts of yellow fabric through the trees to fabricate my own forest fire. In terms of making a painting, room to manoeuvre seemed to be created somewhere between these slightly disconnected approaches, resulting in the structure underpinning the final piece becoming rousingly unpredictable.
As I see it, this direction the work has taken is an approach to widening the gap between the real and the invented. I’d like to continue by asking what effect does this have on the traditional formalities of painting and the processes I have developed in my own practice in terms of making a picture. Does taking this more challenging approach triumph over convenience and interrupt my own visual assumptions and habits? Are these methods of working, better for achieving the kind of layered and structurally in flux paintings that I’m after?
Lighting Fabric Fires would be a collection of paintings which would be an ongoing reaction to these questions and their answers.