If you catch my posts from time to time, then you will know that I am currently in the middle of an MA in Art and Science at Central Saint Martins in London. I embarked upon the course for loads of reasons, but one of the principal ones was to develop my artistic practice….
Until now, I have always considered myself to be a sculptor; really because that’s all I have known, with the exception of drawing from life, to help get into a sculpture – as another way of seeing if you like. That all changed for two reasons that happened more or less at the same time.
Firstly there was the Abstract Expressionist Show at the RA. My favourite art of all time (upon which I shall write another time) and the show was a blockbuster with all the greats represented. Experiencing all these monumental paintings in the flesh totally blew me away (I went numerous times) – and in my note book I wrote in capital letters – I WANT TO PAINT!
The second thing was that during my screen print making induction at CSM, I got really excited by the mixing of the paints. I chose bold primary colours and I just found them amazing – in their own right and in the way they combine / layer and mix as one pushes them across the screen: sublime!
So with all this pent up desire, I started to play with paints in my studio – I’ve never had any formal lessons as such and this probably helped, as I could be genuinely open to experimentation. I used household paints and quality ‘wallpaper’ lining paper because all this was readily accessible to me (and relatively inexpensive) and in strong colours – red, black, blue, yellow, white etc and applied them directly from the can. I would then move them across the paper using a plastering trowel (well I am (was!) a sculptor…).
I wasn’t looking for any particular outcomes but being bold and experimental – pushing the paints around, allowing them to partly combine or not. I might add additional layers; looking to see what would happen if the layers were still wet or allowed to dry and so on. With this and by incorporating gestural mark making, an exciting way to express myself has emerged. I have made literally dozens of paintings so far and learnt much about the language of paint.
A love of paint has developed – for the colours themselves and the textural qualities that can be achieved; the spontaneity of making it affords and ultimately because it enables me to achieve a feeling of expressive simplicity. I have already posted on how I have taken my new painterly language on and developed my Interim Show work, ‘Hell is in My Head’. However, since then I have continued to relate my painting to my research.
The way I paint – intuitively, without forward planning, complements my desire for immediate and almost unconscious expression. I look to explore emotionality and ‘what it is to be human’, but adding layers from a psychoanalytical and cognitive neuropsychological perspective.
Mental health and fragility of mind are recurring themes and I am beginning to appreciate my work as a kind of self-psychoanalysis. I continue to express my emotions and unconscious mind and ultimately aim to produce work with which the viewer will feel a connection; to be drawn into it and to develop an emotional response of their own.