containment and openness in the landscape
My work deals with the tension between open and boundaried space within my local landscape, on the edge of Dartmoor, where there is an interplay relating the topographical to the social. Wild space butts against the needs and assertions of community. I portray place in its temporal aspect, showing the surface of the land as possessing a lifespan of its own that is imprinted by the activities of many of our own lifetimes; boundaries thousands of years old, interwoven and overlaid by newer demarcations. Within this, there is also an acknowledgement of my own temporal viewpoint. I have progressive multiple sclerosis, so these familiar places become increasingly inaccessible. Inevitably the landscape I love becomes a resonator for the emotions around loss and approaching mortality. The boundaried constraints of disablement juxtaposed with the wide expanses of the imagination. I paint from observational drawings, which then evolve into the finished work in the studio. In this way I branch out from the literal toward abstraction. My intervention between the experience of walking and standing in a place and the experience of viewing the finished piece of work is recorded in its history of paint application. I work in oil paint; the colours and gestures of the painting process itself have a lot to say about the finished piece. I originally trained as a sculptor and this informs my understanding of composition and hierarchical space. Prolonged periods in Arnhemland Australia, living with the Gumatj aboriginal clan, has also fed my understanding of wild space in relation to human habitation. My practice is an attempt to map my own contextual relationship to timeframes of changing landscape. Focusing upon the essential components and contrasts that make up a specific landscape, I paint the distinctions between these states in their simplest form.