Can you tell me about your practice? How do you get started on a piece of work?
Who or what are your biggest influences?
I always look at other painterly techniques and want to work out the processes that artists have used. It feels like a jigsaw - trying to piece together elements of a work to get the full picture.
I have some “favourites”: abstract expressionist artists from the 1950s /60s such as Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell. Contemporary painters: Jacqueline Humphries, Charline von Heyl, Laura Owens and Jadé Fadojutimi. When I was in Venice, the group exhibition “the milk of dreams” had some amazing painters that I’d never come across before, one stand out artist from that was Christina Quarles. Their work is new to me and I’m obsessed!
Abstract expressionism informed the context of your work for some time, does the movement still resonate with you in your new work?
It probably looks like Abstract Expressionism isn’t as relevant to my practice now. I’m exploring layering, pattern, motif and colours - and digital drawing, and the process of translating this to canvas. My new works feel much more controlled but Abstract Expressionism will always underpin my work, as it feels like the roots of my practice - artists from this movement will always be in my mind when I’m making, or researching. These artists are always the ones I come back to time and time again.
How important is the choice of material in relation to realizing the concept of your work?
Really important, as it allows me to translate what’s in my head onto canvas. I use a really wide variety of materials, throwing the net out really wide as it allows me to experiment more and push concepts further.
Every piece of work I do, I see it as a way of changing technique and material for the next piece. It's all really kind of a trial and error throughout and every painting I do leads on and teaches me something for the next work that I do. So it's like a process of learning the whole time. I try to see each painting as an improvement on the last, be it in technique or
material or even colour of the layers that I use.
My work is now becoming more about the layers and creating a sense of depth on the canvas with colour and pattern. I guess there is a sort of trickery to it too, having things bounce off each other in a certain way or having things layered in a way where it doesn't quite make sense at first glance. Material is so important in realising this.
What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Can you give us a book recommendation that has been important in your practice? And tell us why it’s important.
I really want to highlight Ninth Street Women. I loved it, a long-awaited account of some of the major female characters of the Abstract Expressionist movement, placing them in their rightful role at the heart of the movement.
I’m about halfway through Finding Dora Maar: An Artist, an Address Book, a Life. It’s really great. Brigitte Benkemoun’s husband bought a vintage notebook on eBay, when she.started to look through it she realised it was an address book containing many recognisable names. Some further detective work revealed that the notebook had belonged to Dora Maar and the names and addresses belonged to those in Parisian artistic and avant-garde circles, such as Picasso, Andre Breton, Cocteau and many others. The book is an exploration of Maar’s life through these contacts, in a sort of biography.
Finally, is there anything new coming up that you would like to tell us about?
I have an exhibition in the Stockroom gallery at Pineapple Black, opening on 5th August and running until 20th August - open Thursday - Saturday, 11 - 4 and by appointment.
Image Credits: Alice Smith