Bruce is an artist and curator of Trade Gallery, Nottingham. We met at a group show I was part of ‘The Trouble with Painting Today’ at the Pump House Gallery. My painting ‘Pas Faire Comme Moi’ had caught his attention and we briefly discussed how it had become sentimental to me. After exchanging contact details and keeping in touch over the past year, Bruce came to my studio to have a look at some new paintings I was working on.
I showed Bruce some drawings I made at different museums in London. Having spent the last two years making paintings of islands, I was drawing a correlation between museum display and landscape painting. Looking at the objects in their display cases, I was interested in how they became flattened, rendered equal and obsolete in their new context. Each object was now part of a diagram of someone’s travels and they were no longer functional or sacred. I wanted to include these objects into my paintings, and reintroduce figuration back into my work.
I was unsure of showing Bruce these paintings so early on but he was very kind and open to my ideas. We talked about very painterly things – deciding how something should be painted, using beeswax medium, flashe paint, particular masking tapes etc. The question of style came up, should painters adhere to a particular style across their work or can it evolve or mutate. My opinion favoured the latter having decided at the beginning of the year that my studio practice will no longer be governed by masking tape.
Bruce wanted to know more about my method and how the paintings developed. I revealed to him that only recently I noticed how influence of nineties platform video games played an important part in my work. I showed him a collection of images of Sonic the Hedgehog which I’d been saving over the last couple of months. We talked about how video games can be an interesting way to think about painting – the flat one point perspective and a world that is always contained within a rectangle frame. Even the bright acidic colours and abstracted objects were clearly evident in my paintings. There was one image of Sonic in particular that related to my current museum project, where he is running through a landscape of ruins and ancient objects.
My studio visit with Bruce really helped flesh out my new ideas. It was the first time I’d spoken with anyone about this work and it is always useful to articulate these out loud to someone else to see if they make sense. He asked me to send him images of my work over the next few months. This will motivate me to finish them!