I draw, paint and write to explore memory, personal experience and storytelling. The memories, experiences and stories I work with and develop in my practice are often ordinary with a heavy, melancholic quality – they are what I call heavy moments, where time thickens and small details are valued and intensified. They are moments of contemplation, imagination and sensitivity.
These moments are often starting points for paintings, beyond which comes a period of reflection, which involves writing and making drawings from memory. I use charcoal as it can be pushed around and manipulated so easily, seeming to work in sync with the imagination. The drawings bring together observation, feeling and memory. They are a search for those sublime elements that can often be found in ordinary subjects.
The spaces I depict in my work often have an unreal, dreamlike, illusionistic or cinematic quality. Exploring the translucent qualities of oil paint, layering techniques, superimposition and glazing has become integral to my practice, and in particular the representation of storytelling and recollection. I’m interested in the act of looking and the different layers we bring to the experience of looking – memory, feeling, identity. Through material research, and by thinking more formally about my paintings, I strive to get closer to the emotional core of these moments.
I use colour symbolically. My red cheek pressed against the cool glass of the car window produces a haze of colour, turning an ordinary grey and green motorway landscape pink. The landscape blushes nostalgically and the raindrops that I watch land and slide down to the bottom of the window glimmer behind the rose-tinted glass. As I blush, so does the painting. As I feel shame, so does my work. The confusing (and colourful) politics of embarrassment are becoming more important in my work.
By paying attention to small details (and their heaviness), and by imagining impossible but intimate perspectives and viewpoints, I hope to convey to the viewer a sense of how these moments feel, to encourage sensitivity and close looking, and to reveal the underlying awkwardness, sensuality or magic of the everyday.