My primary interest in painting has been to explore the surface of paint as both a place of conjuring of a human presence and as a medium that exudes its own qualities. I continue to be fascinated and driven by the need to explore this simultaneous possibility that can exist in the skin of paint, that of human presence and of painting materiality. I have sought to explore the processes and tools that can, and have historically been used to achieve effects that can sometimes conjure that human presence. I’ve also engaged in the exploration of the materiality of paint, and in other materials used in conjunction with paint or added to the paint. In some cases I’ve employed non-traditional art-making materials. Though I have often been methodical and serial in my approach, I have also tried to create projects where chance could interfere with decision and where a material’s qualities and characteristics could suggest fresh approaches or unconsidered devices. This process is of course ongoing and will hopefully continue to yield new experiments and result in new means and materials being brought to mind, being mined, and being made mine.
What is important is that it is what I refer to as the simultaneity of the skin of paint, the surface as paint and as a plane of conjuring human presence that drives my practice. This simultaneity is essential in my process. I am interested in both the ‘representational’ qualities and possibilities of paint, and in the ‘presentational’ qualities: those characteristics that exert on us a more visceral force.
Reflexivity or sometimes self-reflexivity, is a term which has been used widely in Critical Theory in the last few decades. It can refer to the way that a work or a medium or an institution develops its own characteristics, its own idiom and is involved in self-definition. Reflexivity in a given context exerts the presence of the particular medium or construct. It draws attention to the means by which it is conjured and in exposing its method of construction, asserts both what is being conjured and the characteristics, materials, forces or methods that construct it. It is greater than the sum of its parts. It simultaneously is most thoroughly and blatantly itself and exceeds itself by being more than a collection of devices and material. The materials or methods of the particular medium, in being made visible, describe, demark or perhaps create the thing as we understand it. It is a kind of simultaneity that is very contemporary. It is both what it is and what it is made of.
I want the material in my work to reflect an understanding of the way skin and flesh wrinkle and fold and force our attention when subjected to the scrutiny of a raking light. I feel an affinity for the dimpled sag of slackened skin, for the muscular furrows of a worried brow, for the scoring of laugh-lined cheeks. I want to explore the various qualities, assertions and vulnerabilities of skin, so that these things may be understood intuitively by the viewer..I want the surface to both carve planes in space, and to describe the flesh of the subject. I want it to engage us on a tactile level and let us experience the emotions inherent in flesh. Flesh mourning, flesh celebrating, enraged flesh. The material is the agent of a visceral connection to the painting and the image also connects us emotionally with the subject. I seek to allow these qualities to work in concert in engaging us fully with the subject.
For me, paint is coloured muck pushed around on woven stretches of cloth or on board. Paint is worlds referred to, existent and imaginary. It is language and sign system. It is percept and affect, it is image, and it is something other than all of these; presentation and representation, and not these, and not the dichotomy.
Each sign and sinew de-signs you, is in you.