Artist of the Month: February 2020
How long have you been at the Phoenix?
I have had a studio here since 2015 - so around 4 years.
What images keep you company in your studio space?
I take a lot of photos of the beach and the landscape so I plaster those on my walls ad hoc with masking tape. They often get covered in paint or random scribbles - ideas, or thoughts about my paintings. Plus, postcards from gallery visits. I really love the current Ed Ruscha room at the Tate Modern. I also like a found object - rocks and crystals sit on my bookshelves and windowsill - they keep me earthed! Sometimes I am inspired by holiday photos or vintage family photos, - like a childhood view of my Granny’s garden. This allows me to draw on memories of past experiences in natural environments.
Your work explores the vibrancy of the landscape. Are there any particular parts of the world that continually inspire you?
I like places where the temperature is extreme. So I love the beach when it’s stormy. The drama of snow-capped mountains also appeals and some of my recent paintings were inspired by photos taken in Chamonix. One of the mountainscapes is featured in Ricky Gervais comedy/drama Afterlife. I never used to like the heat much as I have quite fair skin but about 12 years ago I spent a month studying yoga in Mexico and found the stark, water-starved desert landscape very meditative. It’s amazing how the cacti and plants survive with little water, they become so grey they reflect the almost pinkish hue of the sand. These 3 extremes were what inspired my solo exhibition. Scene. Heat. Waves.
Is it important to you that your artwork has a significant physical presence in the gallery space?
That’s a great question. I think sometimes I feel that my work veers towards sculpture, I have always been quite preoccupied with texture and colour and I was a Fine Art Printmaker originally. I like the idea that my paintings appear quite touchable, or even lickable (!!) - obviously not literally, I work with a lot of layering of paint and textured gels. I hope it inspires memories of trudging through earth, wet sand or snow. I use a lot of rich colour combinations and I am also very gestural and my painting reflects this, often when a piece is finished it will seem like it still being painted - there can be a lot of movement.
Your exhibition in the Window Gallery emphasizes the senses. How would you like visitors to the exhibition to experience your work?
Working to the 3 word brief: Scene. Heat. Waves made hanging the show quite fluid.The corridor space lent itself well to the narrative of a journey. The initial piece is Clean Breaks, a painting made from the memory of low tide beach walk after a storm. Each subsequent piece, 14 in total, reflects another individual journey, culminating in the Fresh Snow on Mont Blanc piece that is hung in the cafe. I love making art work based on walking and have written about this process in a book, Walking in the Rain.
For more about Antonia, visit her website.