An interest developed when I moved to Amsterdam in 2019. I spent most of my time exploring the city alone, eventually finding myself visiting the museums on a regular basis. This was my first exposure to exceptional art, and quickly it made me want to begin painting. I returned to England within a year to do so.
Both. My process is entirely unfolding, beginning by drawing onto linen. However, what I draw is derived from a pre-conceived idea that exists only in the mind. In terms of organisation, the final painting is detached from this original idea, since the format you’re inserting the information into has its own demands, but the content remains the same.
I arrive early and start right away, doing whatever needs to be done. I generally work on multiple paintings in the same day. I leave late in the evening also. From there I head home to read or go for a pint.
I currently study MFA Painting at Manchester School of Art. This course focuses entirely on painting, gifting time to delve deep into the past as well as discuss painting’s current condition. As a result, my influences span the whole of art history. My subjects and techniques are often very historically grounded, referencing as far back as the 1400’s. Whereas my focus on organisation, both on the surface and in depth, comes more heavily from modern painting. My knowledge of all periods has deeply influenced the way I look at contemporary Painting.
Nothing specific. My work drifts to exceptionally mundane subjects also. In both cases, the engagement is very similar, this being primarily with the making itself. Often my religious references are derived purely from a fascination with the formal qualities of the image used. I have painted from Robert Campin’s ‘Crucified Thief’ several times, purely because the body is such a fascinating shape. Originally part of a large altarpiece, the mirroring panel is now lost, this gives the remaining panel alone a very moving dissonance. For me it conveys something similar to an Ellsworth Kelley, ‘Broadway’ (1958) for example, a work I’ve seen often in Tate Liverpool.
In relation to technique, this is simply due to a fascination with the old masters, any contemporary feel to my techniques is probably from the wide range of colours I have access to today. In relation to subject, I often paint things which have always been painted. They may seem like they were taken from way in the past, but often my subjects have also been painted in the 50’s, the 80’s and 2000’s. I like painting things which have always been painted, probably because I come across them a lot. There is no intention to it.
It seems to me that being sincere in what you do is acceptable today, no matter how ridiculous the work may appear. I am very sincere in what I do and wish my paintings to be visually generous. I want the ‘good’ properties of my work to be in the face of the viewer. I don’t want them to have to think them up.
No, I would say not. Discovery is made on the painted surface. I think the atmosphere in my works comes from how they’re organised as well as the colour pallet. I paint very common spaces: Lounges, gardens, bus stops etc, however the extent to which they are organised is the opposite of how reality functions. Also, the shape and size of the components required is so specific, I often need to invent what I paint without source imagery. This makes them appear stranger still.
I’m interested in the traditional figure/ground relationship and the way it has been dealt with over centuries. My use of the human figure within environments is an exploration of this. In my work specifically, this can result in figures floating in darkness - like in the baroque - or both figure and ground existing exceptionally shallowly, almost to the point of minimal abstraction. In this case, the figure is often replaced by another object acting as figure.
When looking at painting, I find both tension and pressure in contrasts. Lights and shadows are key, but so are surface variations, colours, masses and spaces. I look to push these and experiment with them as far as I can. Some are slapped across your face whilst others are very subtle, almost to the point of an esoteric joke. In the case of light and shadow however, resolving these is a good way for me to know a painting is finished.
The more I make paintings, the more I find the meaning to be inseparable from the making itself. This relates strongly to the details, particularly paint handling. I apply paint in a huge range of ways, always aiming to convey freshness. I find this is naturally heightened by the presence of some nastier, pastier qualities. The effect of one upon the other makes the presence of both important in my work and in painting generally. I’m often disappointed when looking at something which is painted with one technique or temperament.
I find the making itself very exciting, even down to building the stretcher. However, this excitement is only possible through information gained via observing. For me, observing exists symbiotically with making, each enhancing the other.
I am currently working on a Solo show with Grimm Gallery in May. I’m also focusing on finishing my degree in September. From there I’m excited to continue living and working in Manchester.