One very fine morning, the sun was starting to set. Under foot, the grass was dewy and overgrown, bustling with growth of foliage, flowers and seedlings stretching out their limbs. The hill across from the water was still many miles away, and light was starting to wane. Only a slight glimmer now reflected.
My practice has been a continual exploration of landscape and environment. My current piece is a large-scale painting (2.5x3m) on raw canvas, using acrylic paints and in loose brush work style. It depicts an imagined, ethereal, grassy landscape populated by a variety of unusual plants and clouds to create a border around the painting, aiming to encompass the viewer. In front of the painting are multiple ‘islands’ of soft sculptures, objects that could exist from the world of the painting or as if they have been pulled out of the landscape. They are hand stitched, giving them an intimate feel, and the fabric is hand dyed and painted, matching the colour scheme of the painting. They are adorned with various different textures made from plastics, paint, foils, and other fabrics.
I want the work to create an uncomfortable ambiguity between what is real and what is fantasy. My work has evolved from being purely a flow of consciousness when I paint, to now being informed by real life examples seen in our environment, that could also cross over into the science fiction realm. I do still consider these places that I paint to be imaginary, but have found that my environment very much informs my work, the Forest of Dean being a constant recurring dialogue that I come back to. The paintings are left inconclusive of time and location, being a product of my visualisation. Parts of the painting are vague and blurry as if it’s dissolving, and alongside the sculptures, creates a subtler way of dissecting perception. The soft sculptures are there to expand a dialogue surrounding how human beings exist within their environment. Due to the way the sculptures slump and deplete, I think of them as being anthropomorphic in nature. I want them to look approachable which is why I have made them soft and muted in colour. This could reflect how we have approached nature in our own environment. As humans we have seen ourselves as the prime species, but now are realising our mistakes in how we have treated the planet, and are therefore now facing the consequences.
Process and materiality in art has always been very important to me. Making and adapting my own materials to create hybrid textures submerges the work further into a science fiction territory. The fabrics and structures of the piece become very much a part of the artwork as the painted landscape is. Painting has been a way of figuring out my interests, a never-ending relationship between process and depiction.