Adorn-ament, oil & acrylic on linen, 120 x 90cm, 2014
A lot of small paintings (mainly 42x32cm) some slightly larger and others smaller. This series of paintings focus on amplifications and simplifications, cropping's that are honed in on. Working through the accidental sections of previous works that have almost organically arrived and purely focusing on a specific section or arrangement of form or motif, creating a highly contrived painterly language, often playing with the surface and tactility of paint. Seductive and sickly arrangements of colour reference a clarity and confidence in the body of work. Works are executed fairly quickly but often sit in the studio for a long time until they are realised. Most of the paintings that I am working on are executed on raw canvas or linen.
Can you describe your working routine?
I usually work most afternoons and evenings. Working often starts with very quick drawings, a lot of playing cutting and pasting, erasing and restarting. Initially getting into the studio, I like to start fairly quickly often changing quite a few works at once, making quick decisions that require a thoughtful response. Over the session a lot of sitting and looking happens and i start to open up the works dissect them, it’s at this point I know what the paintings should begin to look like or what they need to be doing, although some take a lot longer to start to work than others. I seem to like to take the paintings to a dirty, mucky stage almost as if the white primed or unprimed canvas is too easy of a place to start. Most studio days are filled with sitting, looking, thinking, tea drinking and Paul Simon.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
My studio space is quite small but has nice light as the days are getting longer. The work I am making has definitely got smaller but I am not sure this has anything to do with the space. Its almost as if each painting is given as much attention as each other, they all share the same wall. I am in the stage of creating a body of work that arrives at the same time rather than sequentially, so in this sense it is important to see the work in unity as constant informants or self referential parameters. I think being in a space that is comfortable and manageable helps the work too, I feel relaxed in the space in which I work so I guess that has a positive effect on production.
Yes Boy & Fuzz G in the studio
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
Works begin with drawings, some very quick drawings other more detailed. I find it hard to paint directly onto primed canvas so i like to pay with the surface, leaving sections raw, others primed with oil based primer other bits with rabbit skin glue etc. So the formula changes painting by painting all depending on what i am trying to find or offer. I like to start by being slightly ruthless with the canvas, taking the work right to the death before redeeming it. I will often work onto the canvas flat on the floor until the visual becomes apparent and the surface is doing what I want it to be doing. It’s at that stage that the painting makes it on to the wall where I can see it in relation to the others, I can see what it is lacking or what it is bringing to the set up. It is at this point that i really start to think about the way it is painted, colour form etc but it already has a history a certain painterly value before it makes the wall.
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
The constant decision between pure abstraction and figuration always troubles me, teetering on the edge between is a fine line and when things become too figurative it becomes difficult. I am having trouble with a couple of paintings but i feel the hard labour over a work is sometimes good, sometimes an image or work can arrive to easily.
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
I like to work through self referential parameters such as which materials i will use, the methods of application etc. Compositions are often worked through drawings, but the method of pure replication does not satisfy me, something has to change or something has to give. Working on this series of paintings is slightly different, there is a set process there is a way i approach the work it becomes slightly less erratic more methodic, but usually it is the finding things (when things go a bit wrong) that it becomes a little more exciting in the end.
Club Trop, 150x120cm 2013 oil,
acrylic and beeswax on canvas
What does the future hold for this work?
I don’t know, i think there is always an urge to take the work large... to over exaggerate the work. But at this time I like the thought of the work being quite accessible, at the moment it has a very domestic layout, very manageable. I'd like to see the work being exhibited to see how it operates with space and how the works sit when they are separated and become singular objects. I am curating a show in Manchester in April so this could be a good time to try out some of the works. Most of the works are working towards a much larger show in Leipzig later in the year.
Untitled (Leaf), oil, acrylic
& lacquer on canvas, 38 x 28, 2014