Surfaces have always fascinated me — for what they tell us about history, time and the human desire to decorate and deface. I have two strands to my work — some paintings start from direct observation which I reinterpret, and others that begin with rapid instinctive mark-making. Both are linked by their gestural marks and visceral quality.
My recent paintings have no subject and no planned outcome. Marks are made quickly and instinctively, then edited. Some I obliterate and then I respond to those that remain, making decisions based purely on the lines, colour, shapes and texture. These decisions are inevitably drawn from the world around me and influenced by my experiences in life.
My egg tempera paintings reflect deconstructed journeys taken in Southern India, Morocco and Sicily. They are landscapes, not presented as views, but as a number of panels. Each set of panels is a single walk. Each panel embodies something seen on the walk. The visual link between the panels is not one that comes from the imposition of aesthetic values – colour harmony for example. Instead each work, taken as a whole, reflects the jarring contrasts of the real world — the new and the old, the brash and the mellow. I find this kind of realism intriguing.
My work is based on photographs taken as I walk. The difficulty is having the self discipline to take pictures of what, at the time, appears ugly or inconsequential as well as what appears to have charm or beauty.
The panels are made from gesso on board. I then work on them using graphite, charcoal, pastel and egg tempera made with pigments. Each layer is burnished into the gesso. In this way the making of the surface comes to reflect how the original surface developed over time.
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