My latest series of work is focusing on interiors and objects – specifically my studio and my home. So far I have been looking at my studio but to be honest, I’m not really sure what I’m doing. I’ve been trying to vaguely look at the basic structure and layout of the objects within my studio using watercolour painting and pen drawing. Everything is very loose – broad gestures of shape, pattern and composition. I started to represent certain objects with certain shapes so a kind of system developed. I may not pursue this to any great degree but I do find it rather satisfying.
I start to think about some of the famous artists and how they at some point as they work maybe they used a similar methodology – for example Matisse and Picasso to name just a couple in their development of their portraits and interiors and the simplistic lines and shapes they used to do this. Still life arrangements have and are constantly being used as a method for formal experimentation by artists the world over.
I also think about the work of the contemporary photographer Laura Letinsky – a particular exhibition I went to years ago at the Photographers Gallery in London has stuck with me (called Laura Letinsky: lll Form and Void Full). Her ‘post meal’ still lifes using linen covered tables, food, cutlery and crockery are oddly reminiscent of old masters paintings of old style banquets. However in Letinsky’s photographs the colours are pastel and muted, her shapes often appear semi abstracted, the stains left behind as important as the objects themselves, the importance of space and light. In fact there is very little food to be seen, more of a melancholy suggestion of what has been.
I like the idea of at some point emulating some of the ideas she has used here, the semi abstraction, the colour schemes she has used, the use of positive and negative space, using my studio as the basis. A studio space has its own sense of place. It’s currently freezing in mine and I work with a hot-water bottle stuck under my jumper. There is clothing a plenty, not just for the purposes of necessary rags, but to wear as layers upon layer. Domestic items one would associate from home have made their way in – cushions, dish washing liquid, drying up cloths and various assortments of teas and packaged soups. And fruit. Fruit gets everywhere – mainly orange and apples. It’s important to do something when I am contemplating the making, whether it’s peeling an orange or sipping a cup of tea. There is something beautiful about a studio. Its simplicity of objects sitting within the space. The climbing pipes, the splashes of paint, the surfaces of the walls and floor, the casting of shadows; the basicness of everything.
Like still life, the studio is a frequent subject matter for many artists. It’s a contained environment that can transport the artist to new places and new ventures. What’s more, it’s there, it’s real. There is a purity about it that can be explored.