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 have a store of treasures, an archive that has become quite vast over the years and I tend to dip in at different points from time to time.
Early on in my progress Manet, Valasquez and Vermeer, whom I still turn to, formed my main focus, a painting foundation. Later on I became interested in Victor Burgin, Richard Hamilton and John Baldassari, artists who seemed to be exploring intersections between mediums and challenging the Greenbergian ideas around painting and modernism. Burgin’s writing also impacted on some of my thinking.
Most recently I have been looking at Juliao Sarmento and Lisa Brice. Cinema has also played a role and in the archive I would include directors, from Krzystof Kieslowski to Eric Rohmer and Agnes Varda to Joanna Hogg.
A common thread running through them all seems to be an interest in the intersections between mediums. Painting and history, painting and technology and conversely how other mediums have intersected with painting, text, photography and cinema.
I’ve often perceived a sense of solitude in your work, regardless of subject matter, that quietly draws you in, is that intentional?
Painting and the viewing of a painting is a solitary activity, referring itself to the viewer less than an audience and a collective experience, possibly one of the ways in which painting differentiates itself from other art forms.
The history of painting seems punctuated by images of single often enigmatic figures and this motif permeates visual culture even today. My paintings both occupy and explore a space within the ‘imaginaire populaire’ , transfigured through painting, creating a sense of ‘jamais vu’ as opposed to ‘déjà vu’, the familiar encountered for the first time.
How important is the choice of material in relation to realizing the concept of your work?
Painting is central, I’m most rooted in its history, a history that stretches further back than other mediums and even when I have worked with video or photography in order to realise an idea painting has provided the filter or lens through which other processes have developed. Painting is often a reference point that creates a question or triggers an idea that sustains my interest and paint is the material I have become most familiar with, my digital skills are very limited and I struggle to find the hand and eye connection that after several decades comes as second nature when I use a brush or pencil.
What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Not having access to certain tools or my studio has in the past had a positive impact on my process. I started making collages back in the mid-nineties in a hotel room and it became a research tool that I continue to use today. Most recently the pandemic made it difficult to lay my hands on certain materials for a period and this ultimately precipitated a move from oil to acrylic paint, lack of access has on occasion proved a useful intervention. However I have to say certain brushes that I use are essential and I panic if I can’t find them.
Can you give us a book recommendation that has been important in your practice? And tell us why it’s important.
Specifically in relationship to my practice, probably The Daily Practice of Painting: Writings and interviews 1962 – 1993 by Gerhard Richter.
I seem to have had a copy in the studio for decades now. The texts are playful and insightful,
Duchampian then Beuysian, a conduit to other artists, thoughts and Ideas. At times it reminds me of the conversations that artists have between themselves. It has helped me navigate my own practice and at times I have turned to it for permissions.
Finally, is there anything new coming up that you would like to tell us about?
I am currently working on a text for a publication, an expanded and edited version of the texts made as part of my research process. Further details will be available on my website soon.
Alongside my studio practice I have also started working on a curatorial project here at the gallery with artist/photographer Kuba Ryniewicz for an exhibition that will open in August. further details also available soon on the NCA website .