My paintings demonstrate that I am motivated by people, gesture and colour. I like to capture inconsequential moments.
Aristotle said, “the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” I am fascinated with the process of capturing gesture, expression and the overall essence of the subject, creating honest and raw representations of inward significance. Focusing less, if not losing completely, my expectation of the outcome, instead grappling with different processes in art and exploring materials and mediums. In an interview, Humphrey Ocean spoke of the joy of the right colour landing in the right place – the habit of applying each pencil line, each brushstroke as if it were your full intention for it to be the last mark. It is all too easy to approach painting sessions with the mindset that your purpose is to attempt to create your preconceived outcome, so much so that you miss what the process is telling you, miss the moments when the paint is telling you where it wants to be.
Born in Middlesbrough in 1979, drawing and painting have been a constant in my life and, from as far back as I can remember, I have never not been the proud owner of, at least, an A4 cartridge sketch pad! From being of primary age, I can vividly remember the joy of walking home from school on a Thursday evening, knowing that my mum would have done ‘the big shop’ at Safeway and bought for me the weekly Beano and Dandy comics. Each would be read from cover to cover before I spent the weekend filling the pages of my sketch pads with my best interpretations of Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan, Ivy the Terrible, the Bash Street Kids…
My paintings demonstrate that I am motivated by people, gesture and colour. I like to capture inconsequential moments and aim, with each new painting, to generate an improved sense of atmosphere, energy, curiosity. I am interested in developing ways to express the tension between abstraction and representation, and this is something I am continually developing in my own work. Mixing a harmonious colour palette but daring to add an unsettling clash colour or a sweeping scratch of white with a palette knife – something to upset the equilibrium and hold the viewer’s attention for that bit longer whilst they work out if they love it or hate it! With every painting I aim to to finely tune a balance between the initial concept and, throughout the process, a sensitive awareness to allow the paint to form its own narrative.
I am also a qualified History teacher and, at various points in my career, I have been in the fortunate position of teaching both art and history and, although taught as separate subjects, I always found this to be a comfortable and complementary blend. History, like art, provides valuable access to the vastness of human experience. A well told story about past societies how individuals behave, how some things change and other things persist despite change, can be beautiful. Paintings that hold my attention are ones that have the essence of a short story. The artist, like the historian, is unearthing and interpreting evidence in order to shape vivid and valid stories that can reveal human experience in past times and in, otherwise, unfamiliar places.
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