Artist statement

This piece is a multi-media painting on a canvas stretcher. I used a variety of paint mediums including; acrylic, oil, and watercolours. To achieve different effects, I added different substances to the primary mediums (glitter, PVA, talcum powder), and alternated between brushes and palette knives. There are also small elements of collage from newspapers and magazines. I began with a watercolour wash in teal and orange over the primed surface. From here I painted what seems like a ‘traditional’ tree landscape and then followed to add the layers of collaged leaves, textured bark, pattern and typography elements.

The main idea behind the work is that it should represent a dreamlike image or alternate reality, where the person is confronted and surrounded by their thoughts. The conceptual element of the painting came directly from the writing pieces we received, and this initial response to the text was my main inspiration for the artwork.  Using magazine cuttings of eyes as leaves are symbolic of the forest being alive and ‘chasing’ the person. The patterned circles were a response to the ‘illusion’ described in the text and to make the scene more dreamlike and to represent the thought pattern of the person’s mind. I want these layered elements, to prompt the viewer to look closer into the painting to see different visual features they may not have noticed at first glance, and to also think about the multiple concepts behind each material and/or image. As I read the creative writing piece I thought it did not have a single image to paint, so tried to achieve this effect with multiple layers in the painting. I chose to follow themes of the text quite strictly as I was interested in how someone else’s idea could materialise if they weren’t the person making the art.

For this piece I looked at the artists Chris Ofili, Laura Owen, and Kurt Jackson. I took the most inspiration from Chris Ofili’s No woman, No cry 1998, as well as looking through a series of his patterned pieces. This pushed me out of my comfort zone by making me think about my reasoning for the materials I use and images I was painting. Before this piece I did use a lot of mixed media in my work, however was doing this as exploration of texture, and experimenting with the effects they created, rather than being concerned with how I could use this to add further conceptual meaning. I will definitely continue to explore the connection between materials/process and the final piece as it adds further depth into work. Alongside researching artists, I found researching the art movements; Surrealism, Dada, and Land art particularly beneficial.

I also found the text ‘What is painting’ by James Elkins particularly useful, allowing me to think differently when choosing materials to paint with. The result of this was that I used non-traditional mediums to achieve different effects with paints. “Painting is alchemy” – an artist learns and creates work though experimentation.

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