In 2015 I created a Masters blog entitled ‘Art in a Birdcage’ referencing a sense of being overly conscious of how I work and what I do; how it may be perceived, perhaps judged. I started painting faces and thinking about masks and of using flesh as canvas. I wanted to hide what existed, to use paint to reveal and conceal. I wanted to make an impression and to explore the territory of moving into my model’s personal space; and in doing so, my own. In 2016 I moved on to working with collaborations and having ‘visual conversations’ with others. Finding their unexpected and foreign marks in my work and learning to explore my own contribution to the works as they evolved was fascinating for me. These drawings and paintings allowed me to free myself from many previous held perceptions of judgement; because they were an involvement, a happening, an event. The collaboration was again about the space between myself and the participant; how we engaged, whether there was dialogue, how often we rotated the work, finding meaning, pattern and abstraction in the result. The more the work had ‘flow’ and a sense of oneness I would question whether this was intuitive or contrived.
In this, the final year I am the collaborator and the work is the artist, or the other way around. Either way we are building each other. My practice is grounded in the knowledge that I can let go, I can free myself from perception of judgement and engage with the very important business of focusing only on my relationship with the work. Is it what I want it to be, is it what it wants to be, against my will. At what stage do I refuse to let this happen and for what reason? The experimentation with materials means that I cannot be absolutely in control of the outcome; allowing me to be adventurous and to work on the edges of what I know. By combining styles and breaking rules I am in constant conversation with the work and it is becoming something I respond to (and with) intuitively each time we ‘meet’. It is not planned, for how can a conversation be planned; this is not a script? As I open the kiln door this piece with which I was in love, is now a hateful colour, dusted with the rubble of a work that exploded alongside it: and in that glorious ugliness I am torn; those sickly greens remind me of death and I want to hold the work to my chest, protect it. Perhaps I must reassess my feelings. This relationship is the fuel for my current work. It is as honest and as spontaneous as I can be.
The works are mine. And I am theirs. Whatever anyone else thinks, is their own business.