Come a little closer

My work tends to be quite dramatic when viewed from a distance – maybe even a bit theatrical. I notice it draws people in, as they try to work out how I have done something such as whether it is painting or photography they are looking at.

It is this ‘drawing people in’ that I am hoping for. When they get up close, I am hoping they will discover more, little nuances and marks that reveal something else, details that are delicate and sometimes barely there, deliberate and subtlety raised lines and edges. For all the drama and energy, sometimes it is the little things that say more.

The little things are paintings within their own right – I hope I have demonstrated this in my photographs. When I work, I get extremely close to the canvas and lose myself it so I cannot see the overall context it is part of – I am quite obsessive about this. Then later I pull back and see what that has done to the overall painting and what new things it has suggested.

The images I have included are details from my work ‘Fools Gold’ (see Post 1). These are good examples about becoming engrossed in the close-up detail when I am painting. I am thinking about exploring these details further and making actual separate paintings of them. I wonder once I get into these, will they further reveal a depth within them which I can explore? Its a bit like that bit in the film Bladerunner when Decker hones in closer and closer into the photograph to see a a woman’s arm with a tattoo and snake scale. He used technology, I use my unconscious and imagination.


Things that are not really there.

I have been focusing on writing my dissertation for uni recently where I have been focusing on the Sublime in contemporary art. Little did I know before I started just how big this subject is. However, thinking about it in relation to my own studio practice, it was the perfect subject. Complexity, connectedness, fragments, pattern, systems, shifts, and context.

Anyway, dissertation out of the way, I am free to concentrate on my painting. I have a number of works on the go at the moment, all work in progress. They are part of an overall installation I am working on. The paintings have a relationship to each other; a dialogue.

‘Wonderland’ is a fairly big piece – it is deliberately unresolved. – sort of here but not here, almost hallucinatory. Partly empowering, partly fantasy land with an internal brooding.

‘Mischief Maker’ grew out of one small part of ‘Wonderland’ and ‘mutated’ in a way. I spotted these little lacy bits that seem to want to have a life of their own. They were like shadowy imps – definitely up to no good (hence the title of the piece).

Something is happening within ‘Dalliance’ . The dark bit within it seems to be internalising itself. I want to work on this more, focusing on the texture, the dark within dark, the matt versus shine. I was particularly influenced by Tomma Abts exhibition at Greengrassi recently. The subtlety and surface of the line and graduations were amazing. I have always been fussy about how my paintings work close up as well as from a distance. It is important to me that when the viewer gets up close, they will see something else, something quiet but significant. I don’t mean in a ‘oh that’s deep’ kind of way, but more a pause that can’t help but be recognised.

I am investigating playing with the change in surface between photography and painting, particularly when I leave some bits matt and others shiny. There is an ever so slightly raised edge that can be achieved that is so very hard to see, but if you stick your nose up to really close, you can, and it’s worth it.

‘The Proposition’ has promise but has some way to go. It has been staring at me for quite some time from the canvas urging me to start upon it. I liked my original digitally manipulated photograph and wondered whether I should paint on it at all. Its colours and movement have been intriguing me and I am happy with the way it sits (or floats) within space. Yet, that which is pretty and frivilous has a dark and intricate side to it and it is this I would like to explore further.