The University of Reading, 1986, MFA (Painting)
I am a visual artist whose output involves painting, mixed media and collage. My figurative style is fragmentary and references both the art of the past and contemporary culture. I usually work in series with each work involving an interplay between one or more figures and ambiguous forms in order to invoke a particular mood, e.g. contemplative, melancholy, or dramatic. The figures operate in a shallow, theatrical space and tend to possess the frontality and expressive shorthand common to votive art of all cultures. These elements combine to suggest an absurd universe where meaning is fluid and open to interpretation.
Often I will start a series of works with an idea inspired by something recently seen or read. Other times I may work more instinctively from images found in books, postcards, the cinema or online. I may also start a new work by tracing an old drawing, or the overpainting and collaging of earlier works, especially proof prints and print matrices. The composition is then subjected to a number of revisions and embellishments. The paint layers involve open brushwork, impasto and glazes, and are often further modified by the introduction of sand, sawdust or collage elements. Colour decisions are driven by the emotional tone and to balance the composition.
I am very interested in how the mind assigns value to imagination and experience and how these meet to produce a work or art. My tendency to simplify, filter and truncate is in response to the fragmented and bewildering surfeit of images available to contemporary audiences. Artists of different periods and cultures have used the human figure in order to convey a narrative or personify a concept. By referencing the formal potency of these otherwise outmoded and compromised systems I wish to draw attention to a common ground, or sometimes a point of departure, in order to highlight the absurdities that continue to divide us. The power dynamics of childhood, family and rites of passage feature strongly as I consider they have a universal significance that transcends religion, myth or dogma.
Originally from Coventry I studied Fine Art in Sunderland before moving to Reading in 1984 for my MFA. After years of making art around a day-job I became a full-time artist in 2015. I hold a studio in the town at OpenHand OpenSpace and participate regularly in exhibitions nationally and internationally.