My work happens in series. The most recent series, ‘Age In The Frame’ grew out of work I’d been doing on age and ageing in the studio. The move to come out of the studio for a while and explore the views of others on a subject which is so germane to human experience, has been deeply inspirational, allowing my work to grow and develop in unforseen ways.

Do have a look at my Posts to hear/read the views of some of the participants, and see how the work has developed from some of the early experimental work – an initial visual response – to the current images.

Background to the series

I’m often asked what lay behind my decision to work for an extended time on this series.

I became increasingly aware, from both a personal perspective – ageing relatives – and various media, that ageing populations are one of the most pressing social concerns of the 21st century. Policy makers are engaged in addressing the social, political, medical and economic implications of our ageing society. But it puzzled me that young people -who will eventually be picking up the tab – are largely absent from debates on longevity, and older people are increasingly told how to age well, but are not asked their uniquely personal views and experiences of ageing. I was curious as to what these were.

Artists are not part of the debates on ageing and yet I believe they hold some of the most powerful tools for contributing to awareness, and generating different perceptions and conversations on this complex topic.

Approach

My aim was to take a different approach and to explore ageing from the ground-up, seeking unmediated voices from a diverse range of young people (15-18 years, initially) and older people (60+ years) whose voices are increasingly faint behind longevity policy agendas. I set out to hold face to face conversations with participants and record their views and experiences. This process was central to the subsequent image making. The modus operandi of the ‘interview’/conversation was for me to come to it without any preconceived ideas or agenda and to hold a human-centred conversation with participants, so that they could be comfortable expressing their views.

A statement about the images from the project: Sculpted paintings in paper, spray paint and pastel. Through recorded subjective accounts with participants on ageing, the visceral and complex nature of old age and the ageing process informs the central focus of the image. Influenced by a training in sculpture, the images are approached by me as a form of construction, where the assembling of elements allows for a process of direct physical engagement with medium. A variety of papers with different surface qualities are pre-coloured to allow for an interplay of flat plane, depth and perspective, the background either coloured or left uniformly plain in tone, to allow the iconic nature of figures and symbols to be articulated. The narratives emerge through the tensions between formal layout and the charged content of the subject matter. This work draws influence from tribal art, ancient Egyptian paintings and sculptures, the figurative sculptures of Giacometti, and the symbolic and pared down nature of the later paintings of Peter Kinley. The work has recently extended into figurative sculptures incorporating wire with paper and paint.

If you’re interested in hosting a talk on the project, please do get in touch.