the Artist

I studied art in London, initially at the Sir John Cass School of Art, and then at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, majoring in sculpture.

Following art school, the 3D work transitioned into an involvement with product design and manufacturing, re-purposing and up-cycling industrial products, turning oil-drums into furniture, for instance.  This lead to the founding of design and manufacturing company, Urban Icons, producing our own products and collaborating with other manufacturers to realise cutting edge designs. It was during this phase that my interest in working in paper developed.

Typically taking the path less followed, I later decided not to do an MA in fine art, but follow a parallel interest in child and family psychology. After working for some time at ChildLine, I did an MA in relationship therapy and now work in private practice as a solution-focused psychotherapist, alongside my art practice.  There is a synergy with the conversations I have and the issues I work with in my therapy practice and my work in the studio. This synergy extends to the medium I work with – paper. My training as a sculptor informs a different approach to a material which generally starts off as a flat surface.

Paper is both fragile and robust; it allows for colouring, layers, accretions, excavation; it can be ephemeral or solid; stiff or sagging, it rustles, creaks, peels, tears; it’s enduring and ubiquitous; it can be demanding, frustrating, delightful and affirming. Not much different to the human spirit.  And the introduction of spray-paint adds another dimension to its character.

Largely human-centred and moving between figuration and abstraction, the work explores ideas around the opposites: fragile/robust; surface/subsurface; build/raze; expose/reveal. 

the Work

The work happens in series.

Early paper – Working in paper began with the question of how to ‘paint’ an image with found, coloured paper and shape, and to understand, as a sculptor, what the difference really is between 2D and 3D images. Two constraints were imposed: to find the colours not make them, and not to cut out and juxtapose ready-made images, as in traditional collage. 

Portraits – Observations on current social issues: work, youth, age, relationships, class, identity.

Fragility – Humans, buildings, insects, birds, flowers.

Facade – Peeled, built and incised facades. A series exploring building facades which extended into the Access series. Quite literally I see facades as the face of the building. They enable exploration of ideas about access and what is hidden or revealed by a facade. They are a speculation on the endless human histories and activities which a building has contained over time. 

Access – Windows and lattices continue the exploration about what is hidden or exposed. They too are a speculation on the lives which are lived behind the façade or are caught up in the lattice.

Staged – In this series of Constructed Paintings, the component layers are pre-painted and then assembled on to a surface. The aim is to invite the viewer to enter a narrative landscape in which a story can unfold, or in which it has already unfolded.  Again I work from the standpoint of a sculptor.  My intention, through the physical manipulation of the formal elements of painting, is to manually direct the viewing of the image, not only with shaped colour, light and space, but via the sequential frames and layering of the shapes. A staged view emerges. These are narrative landscapes of the imagination, their origin is from the narratives in my own life and those heard in the therapy room.

Over Time–  My interest in the subject of age and becoming older has been cooking for some time now.  I am at last in a place where I can explore this as an artist. How age is perceived and experienced has long been of interest and issues around it frequently arise in therapeutic conversations. Through the route of socially engaged practice the series will explore and reflect subjective experiences and views of age and becoming older, and what that means for people across different ages, cultures, races and abilities. As an artist I can  explore it from a different perspective and hopefully contribute to the debate on age and becoming older.

Drawings  –  Drawings of various types have always run alongside the work.