Painting statement, November 2020
I paint multiple human figures engaged in everyday activities in dark yet colourful surreal compositions. You might recognise Bosch, Michelangelo and Hogarth, as I draw on visual references from the past in order to explore new possibilities for the future. I choreograph strong female protagonists, mothers and children into imaginative realms where they can challenge domestic legacies, and draw attention to inequality.
I aim to valorize everyday experiences and change cultural narratives that simultaneously trivialise women’s caring and domestics roles and create pressure to live up to unrealisable ideals. The complex scenes I depict are often dark, and dystopian yet the textures and colours are joyful. The movement and gesture of the figures is inexact; the elaborate mark making and compositions confusing. These paradoxes aim to pull you in and to make you think differently about the nature of the ‘self’ and its relationship to ‘others.’
For over 20 years, I have explored my lived experience of being a woman and mother in an art practice that has embraced performance, film, installation, sculpture and painting. I survived personal trauma by reinventing myself and changing my story. Knowing our stories can be rewritten and changed has especial significance for women and mental health. I want to challenge conventional stories of self and create visual language that grapples with cultural plots that contain and restrain women. I want to draw you in and engender your empathy because when we are capable of understanding and feeling others pain, we can understand our own.
Image: Encased in a New Silence, oil and bitumen on canvas, 80x100x4cm, 2019 . Shown at Edge of Dark, NSA exhibition Tremenheere Gallery, October, 2020