In my painting I aim to walk a precarious but playful path along boundaries: between object and product, digital and analogue, flat and physical, design and art, seriousness and playfulness. I’m aiming to find a response as a painter working in a digital age.
I’m currently interested in incorporating organic elements into my work – exploring nature’s resilience in the face of the injury which humankind has inadvertently caused. I am developing work where organic forms are in harmony (or perhaps hybridised) with hard-edged geometric elements – the meeting points between nature and the smart technology needed to achieve our sustainability goals. I utilise carpentry off-cuts in my paintings – using separate panels and being open to change during the making process is an important creative strategy for me and helps keep possibilities open whilst reducing the need to use new materials in the work. The FarmED exhibition offers an opportunity to develop and show this work in an appropriate environment, where I hope some of the themes I am exploring might spark conversations and ideas.
I live and work in Oxford. Dividing my creative output between design and an evolving contemporary artist practice, my design background has influenced the development of my visual language, which seeks to marry dynamism and friction with the beauty and imperfection of the contemporary world. My pieces are generally painted on board or wood panels – the arbitrary dimensions of these inherited materials and their refusal to conform to any kind of rational grid sets up a 'compositional problem' and acts to drive the work towards a 'solution'. My aim is to incorporate an element of the 'incomplete' or 'unanswered' in the work – it feels a more appropriate response given the instability of the here-and-now than a wholly resolved outcome.
My work has a relationship to the Modernist aesthetics of the early 20th Century – however the purity of geometry associated with the ideals of that movement has given way to something which is by turns fractured, unstable and playful…something which is mixed with the trappings and detritus of contemporary culture: digital games, architecture, graphics and the automated production line.
In my work the dot is often used as a stand-in for human (or possibly artificial) beings. Placed at focal points in the composition, it is unclear whether they are acting as catalysts, overseeing the action, or are themselves trapped as unwitting participants in an unfathomable virtual obstacle course. Dots bring gravity into the pictures (mostly they seem to be constrained to similar rules of physics as we are – rolling down slopes, resting on platforms or stopped mid-roll by larger objects…). In turn this gravity brings 'environment' into the work – seemingly describing a physical space and shifting the reading away from the purely abstract or decorative towards something with a sense of narrative, as if a sequence of events is being recorded. Though my work has a strong sense of discordancy and instability within it which could, in other circumstances suggest a technological break-down, my aim is to retain ambiguity as to whether the events within the picture are cataclysmic, or are equally playful in mood – perhaps kindred to slapstick comedy. My work is open ended – things could go either way…
Using separate panels and being open to change during the making process is an important strategy for me and helps keep possibilities open – it's quite common for me to invert or re-order elements many times, so that the final painting ends up radically changed from my original sketches.
Many of my paintings are box mounted – the depth of this boxing allowing the works to be elevated beyond the realm of flat painting to become something more crafted and tactile. I'm interested in the potential contradiction of responding to the fast-paced contemporary world with an older, slower technology – paint. But the marks left by my brush on the work's surface which are discernible on close inspection are important signifiers of the possibilities which painting still holds to respond to our present times.