Artist of the Month: April 2018
1. How long have you been at Phoenix?
I’ve been at Phoenix for about 4 and a half years –after struggling to continue my practice at home. I’ve been sharing a space in the basement which is a really friendly community, a hive of activity with artists and makers who are willing to share ideas, skills, coffee and even the occasional biscuit. I can often be found bouncing around the building as I work with other artists at Phoenix. I find it a really stimulating environment to be part of with unexpected connections and new opportunities that arise.
2. What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am working on 2 sets of drawings – some walking drawings which trace events or moments in life through describing the continuous line of movement, measured in steps to re- imagine the motion of that particular time. I am very interested in process and the use of movement and walking to as a process through which we analyse, absorb and reflect on our lives and the journeys that we make, both internal and external. These are really simple in form but vary with the drawing materials which reflect the walks themselves. I have just completed a drawing called “An average day in Heaven, 2757 steps’ and am about to start a Purgatory piece.
Alongside this work I am making a series of ‘Salt-Marsh’ drawings using compress charcoal on very heavy paper using remembered landscapes and a series of winged figures. These are really instinctive works and I am using them to get back in touch with enjoying the velvety tones and richness involved in this media.
Both these sets of drawings run along side as series of assemblages, which I make from objects found on my walks, and materials that have a particular resonance. They are points of reflection, like little talismans or amulets, which contain a story or a feeling and are made using simple wrapping techniques
3. Which media do you like to use?
I have a very instinctive approach to the wide variety of media that I use. I am a collector of objects and materials that have some kind of inherent integrity, whether this is in their texture, surface, sensory quality or the strength or weakness of the materials. I use the media of play with these materials and often keep things close for a long time experiment with them and explore their qualities and possibilities. Currently I have a beautiful, giant oval piece of chalk – that is just sitting on my desk that I am playing with from time to time as a base for different assemblages – and am drawing with a quill made from a swan’s feather that I collected in Devon last summer.
4. Which other artists do you admire?
Such a tricky questions – there are so many and for so many reasons – Eva Hesse for her poetic pieces – exploration of space and materials and form.
Manzoni – for the sheer humour and playfulness of what he did, and the joy with which he made and it always gives me a wry smile when I look at his work.
Tintoretto - for the dynamic movement in his drawings and the sheer scale and power within his compositions.
Nikki Tarr and Emily Beaumont – whose generosity of process, materials and utter skill was revealed in their recent show ‘Beneath the Surface’ – and who are always a delight and source of inspiration as well as amazing patience in the many questions – I have.
Cornelia Parker, for her inventiveness.
5. What would you recommend to go see?
I’ve just been back to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford – which is a real treasure trove of a collection – rammed with different artifacts and stories. I found the whole trip really exciting and looking through the collection at the wealth and breadth of human communication and ideas is truly inspiring.
At the Towner, there are 2 particular exhibitions ‘Inhabit’ – and ‘ Natural Selection’ which are a visual and sensory delight.
And I know that there is a really interesting exhibition coming up at Pallant House, Chichester, all about the influence of Virginia Woolf so I’m really looking forward to seeing that this summer.