I see my art practice in parallel with life as a journey of learning and discovery. A journey through which I can produce work that reflects my eclectic interests and that also serves as a tool for the discovery of new ideas.
Primarily I am a painter, but I also draw, use photography, film, and online media as well as making models and producing artist’s books. Interests currently most pertinent to my practice include: Brutalist architecture, aesthetic ideas of beauty, perception and the sublime, ‘New Wave’ science fiction, Dutch portraiture of the ‘Golden Age’, Anderson’s and Grimm’s folklore, technological innovation (particularly in relation to space travel) and the records and imagined outcomes of exploration, journeys and destinations.
I imagine the destination at the end of an arduous journey, be that to a different world, the recesses of space, or to a place, earth like, but elsewhere and somehow implausible. Into these spaces I place objects, whose purpose and origin is unknown. The imagery of the objects draws on images of architecture, mineral forms and balloons to name a few. What interests me in painting them is the encounter of mystery. In a world which has been so thoroughly mapped, and where the only places left to explore are desolate, I wanted to paint places where the exploration of the unknown was still alive and potent.
Most of my practice is purposely sombre and unpopulated, but when painting portraits I wanted to make paintings that were human, eccentric and yet light hearted. The painting process for me is about speed, a relaxed touch and the intensity of colour. I see the paintings as contrasting with but also complementing the landscapes.
I discovered a way to reuse my paintings in a different context. I built a 1:12 scale model of a gallery for my paintings to go in. It was based on elements of my favourite galleries and was in essence my ideal exhibition space: clean and flawless. The ‘Earthlight Series’ photographs, are initially convincing but with closer inspection, when the grain of the wood, oversized drips of paint and cracks between walls become visible, the real nature of the model becomes apparent. This project is still in development and I see it developing into the following areas:
• Ideas of how we engage with a work, according to its size and scale.
• How we can hold two contradictory ideas of a place in our minds at the same time, as with the theatre stage or the film studio.
• Why is it that we find enjoyment in the illusion and knowledge of the illusion?
I have been working on photos that were more immersive, where you felt you had been transported to a distant location but I also wanted them to feel domestic and easy to live with without the detachment a luxurious print and a frame can bring.
I see the artist’s books as an opportunity to create a connective narrative to my work. There are two projects I am currently working on:
• One is a journey visiting the obscure parts of our solar system. It is part graphic novel, part encyclopaedic and part novella. It grew out of wanting to find a way to utilise my continual reading and browsing of space related websites and books to create something unusual and obscure. It is also in response to a lot of science programming which retreads the same information again and again.
• The second book project is the imagined annual catalogue of a new model gallery I am currently building. Working with a group of artists and writers and in the format of a collection of exhibitions, essays and interviews it will chronicle a year in the life of the gallery.
Hollow Earth London - (link to Hollow Earth London site)
In 2012 I set up hollowearthlondon.com as a platform to engage with the broader practices and journeys of artists. Without the agenda of promoting an exhibition, and in response to the so often pretentious and superficial artist videos, I wanted to look at the artist’s lives in a more holistic manner. The focus is on those artists who in my opinion are making great work but have not yet received critical acclaim and I seek to build a picture of the whole artists life and how their experiences and interests have moved them to make the work they do.
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