I use images of particular moments and places produced by the dynamics of personal and societal memory as the starting point for my painting practice. Through painting, drawing and mixed media I explore conceptions of girls, women, mothers and children in more intimate or public moments and spaces of their lives. Often gazing at or being gazed at by a viewer. Central to my work is the notion of frozen moments, captured stills of inner and outer life experiences. As such, these are incarnations of experiences seared into the psyche and body by trauma or nostalgia – a homesickness for something lost.
I work mainly in oil on canvas. Using the physical resistance and fluidity of the medium I create a problem-solving process over time. In this, instinct, care, mild obsession, a rejection of the logical world, and a sense of adventure guide me through different iterations of the image to the moment I feel in my gut that the painting has become what it was meant to be. I play intently and seriously with colour, form, larger and smaller brushstrokes, detail and feeling at each stage of the painting taking shape. With the freedom given by oil to build up thinner of thicker layers of paint one upon the other, or to remove them, each layer contributes to the final sensual and visual depth of the saturated surface even if it is no longer visible. A material embodiment of surface and depth.
The imagery in my painting is born from many sources. From the values of sincerity and simplicity I hold close to my heart. From encounters with nature in my rural childhood. From photos, sketches, children’s book illustrations, paintings by classical and contemporary artists, myth and imagination. I am interested in playing with and resisting canonical norms of figure drawing and painting. Letting the child in me decide the shape of people and objects in my work. Not naïve, not outsider art, but not insider art either.
Currently I am working on a series of Park People, initially inspired by the part the local park played in my life as a place of freedom and encounter during the pandemic. In the absence of other distractions, my eyes soaked up the form, colour and energy of people I passed in the park. Even in the relative gloom of a grey afternoon the human stories they evoked meant they acquired a particular status for me as fellow subjects of coronavirus restrictions. Beautiful and fascinating in their own right, they beckoned me to explore the diversity of ways people inhabit the communal space of a park.