the Artist

I am a British artist working in paper. I studied art in London, initially at the Sir John Cass School of Art, and then at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, majoring in sculpture. My early exhibited work, at venues within the UK and abroad, was in box pictures and figure drawing. Supported initially by work as a senior product designer I was able to fund and develop my artistic practice. My interest in working in paper has evolved quite naturally over this time to my current absorption with this challenging medium.

the Work

Unlike paint, paper is not a fluid medium; it demands a particular consciousness of edge and surface, shape and line, light and depth, texture – all the formal elements of 2D image making.   My approach takes the form of both construction and deconstruction and so involves a more visceral engagement than a consciousness of formal elements suggests.  I want to know what paper is capable of and how I can uncover its potential to probe the subjects I’m working with. In finding the best way of realising the image I’m working on, I am able to explore its limitations and possibilities and so I peel, tear, twist, fold, smooth, layer, colour and cut it – whatever it takes to develop the specific image I’m working with at the time.   It’s an exploration in which subject, medium and process are inextricably interconnected.

Paper is  brittle, fragile, delicate, and yet it can also be surprisingly robust and resilient, as such it is an ideal medium for some of the themes I keep returning to: revelation and exposure, fragility and resilience, the passing of time, memory.  For some time now I’ve been working on a series exploring facades – primarily building facades.  I’m interested in what is hidden or revealed by a facade, what traces remain of the human histories which a building has contained and what the effects are of passing time on its structure and substance.  I’m currently working on the most recent spin off from this which is the Lattice series.  

Lattices intrigue me because they are not only about meshes or grids, which join at particular junctions, but can be 3 dimensional arrangements –  they reference both surface and subsurface in an image. What the eye puts together of the elements in the image can be disrupted or formalised by the lattice and any layering can give the work added depth.  As a consequence of this series the work has increasingly become more painterly.  I work on paper, painting component layers which are then assembled on to the painted surface.  I’m intrigued by the paradox of the fluidity of the paint when working these layers and their transformation into hard edged shapes and forms when assembled on the painted surface. With my background in sculpture I am drawn to the physical act of constructing the painting, and the conscious interplay of depth, edge, surface, colour and shape.  The painted lattice- like layers are structured in such a way as to partially conceal the underlying surfaces, constraining what is exposed or what might be revealed.  This dialectic between medium and process helps to foreground the human centred themes of vulnerability, privacy, concealment, access, endurance – expressed through the form of landscape, both inner and outer.

People have asked me what my influences are.  Well, everything really.  The work never really stops, it continues in one’s head all the time; when I’m exploring a particular subject, then anything in everyday life, which is relevant to that subject, becomes a source.  And so it is with influence from other artists past and present, and not forgetting the works of one of my favourite poets, Theodore Roethke.  

The work and the processes constantly evolve – it doesn’t always make for a relaxed inner life!