The focus of my attention on a particular object is to isolate it and behold it with an absolute presence and beauty.
THE MUSE IS EXHAUSTED SERIES (2017)
Hybrids of infamous muses and mythical creatures, these ambiguous portraits with their empty eyes and translucent, cellular bodies, are a reflection of ourselves in the form of carnivalesque demons, animals and goddesses. This new series, The Muse is Exhausted, explores the relationship of the gaze and the gaze turned in on itself and to the primordial goddesses of myth and imagination. In a world preoccupied with the communication of self and image and a culture of looking and being seen, these portraits pose existentialist questions of who and what we are.
All paintings made with charcoal, pastel, acrylic and spray paint on gesso primed canvas. Maud is painted on 300 gsm Saunders waterford paper. Sizing – figures: 120 x 150cm and portraits: 60 x 70 cm.
PHOENIX & LITTLE WING SERIES (2016-2017)
This is an existential body of work that focuses on the transformation of life form, creating a sense of visual intrigue and material presence. The physicality and expansion of scale takes on a metamorphic quality that occupies an ambiguous space – fragile, transient, ethereal. The polarities between consciousness and unconsciousness; memory and ambiguity; self and other; death and rebirth (although the dialogue has a personal narrative) has universal significance.
YOU NEVER STOP SWIMMING UNTIL YOU REACH THE OCEAN SERIES (2016)
You Never Stop Swimming and the Peekaboo series are a series of drawings and paintings where the same or similar images are drawn again and again with charcoal, acrylic and various spray paints and varnishes. The repetition of image, scale and dimension creates a sense of visual intrigue and material presence, the objective is to entice the viewer to stop and take in the work at a pared down pace.
The tension between light and dark, form and matter and the image pushing out from the boundaries of the surface are important qualities to this series. The layers are built up over time and the mark making is hard, soft, feathery, pitted, dense and translucent. The palette is monochromatic and simplified to focus purely on the image structure which starts it’s journey from a series of photos observed and taken directly from my own body. Pencil and charcoal studies are drawn initially from the images until I isolate and hone in on the form chosen to scale up.
These paintings are ambiguous, faceless and anonymous; the concentration is on the pelvis, hips and legs. They are seductive and meant to tease, subvert and celebrate the female form, developing a dialogue with the patriarchal history of the ‘female nude’. The geometry of a woman’s body is a metaphor for a landscape, which has been formed by millions of years a geological metamorphosis and in these works the imagery takes on a perspective as a language of body and landscape. However, the square format defies the interpretation of a landscape, the boxing in creates a further tension of wanting to break free. Questions are asked if these works are representative of sections of a woman’s body or by analogy, they relate and become part of our imaginative experience.
PEEKABOO SERIES (2015-2016)
STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS SERIES (2014-2015)
This series of works took me on a journey of analysis: about remembering, forgetting, existence and transcendence. Painting is a product of the mind; a translation from inner to outer, giving form and visual existence to things which have no substance within our minds and bodies: thoughts, ideas, desires and emotions. In these circular canvases and over-drawn digital images I have made studies of walnuts and root ginger that echo the organs of the body they nourish – the brain and stomach, linking the brain/gut connection. It interests me how patterns, surfaces and matter that grow in nature are echoed in parts of the human body itself. By fusing the objects with human hair and milkweed, I began to write my own myths and stories. Myth and memory are at the foundation of the work, it’s here that I can tell stories that are deeply personal, a separation from ordinary life, intimate and specific to the moments of experience, opening awareness of passing time and the rhythms that govern one’s life.
MEMORY IS THE COLOUR OF ASH SERIES (2014)
Thoughts of lost moments and fragments from the past and present form this series of drawings, photographs and assemblages of dead matter – human hair, milkweed, physalis, orchids and pussy willow. It is the links made between each object and their resonant energy that intrigues me – the silky, fragile, golden strands of hair that form strong, hardy plaits to the fibrous cluster seeds of the dried milkweed on delicate branches, the fragile and vibrant lanterns of the physalis plant, the phallus in the orchid and the furry soft textured buds of the pussy willow branches.
I am fascinated and intrigued by the myths that surround each object as they each become a symbol for something else – the orchid is a testament to the male reproductive organ of the savaged Orchis who was killed by beasts in his attempt to harm and rape a woman. The myth of Circe, who had willow trees dedicated to the goddess Hecate surround a cemetry where male corpses were left exposed in the tops of the trees for the elements to claim and birds to eat and the mythical story behind the milkweed plant (Asclepias) derives from the Greek God of healing, Asclepius, who was such a skilled healer that legend said he could raise the dead.
It is in the narratives that develop by placing them together, that new stories and re-defined myths can be made. They are also fragments of objects that have an intriguing beauty to me. I find this process to be conceptual, physical and psychological. By objectifying the subject matter and not revealing the whole and magnifying the part, it is this attention to detail that allows connections to be made.
MYTH OF DANAE SERIES (2012-2013)
“Last night I wept. I wept because the process by which I have become woman was painful. I wept because I was no longer a child with a child’s blind faith. I wept because my eyes were opened to reality… I wept because I could not believe anymore and I love to believe. I can still love passionately without believing. That means I love humanly. I wept because I have lost my pain and I am not yet accustomed to its absence.”
Anaïs Nin, Henry and June: From “A Journal of Love”–The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin
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