I was born in Sunderland, in the industrial North East, moved to the rural East Sussex coast and spent the Summers in Florence, Italy. It was a well-rounded childhood (from an artistic perspective) as I cannot imagine three more extremes, culturally, for someone to have experienced on a regular basis before the age of 10.
The driving force behind my practice is a love of process, technique and experimentation. Inherently a 3-d problem-solver (from my background in clothes design), I have chosen to focus on the 2-d surface of the canvas and allow dimensionality to emerge through an emotional connection with texture, colour and form. Subject matter forms the unifying bond across my experiments with media. Humour, subversion and trompe l’oeil effects combine with a prevailing theme of perceptions of the human form and our reaction, culturally, to the image of the nude.
As a fashion student, my entire artistic practice revolved around drawing the figure and creating repeat patterns for fabric – with an underlying subtext of the “symbiotic relationship between clothes and sexuality” (review by Katrina Blandy, Financial Times). Although no longer involved in the fashion industry, I still love life-drawing and creating patterns. This was the dominant theme of my work in 2018 and was exemplified in the two paintings that were chosen to hang in the central gallery of the Royal Academy for their annual Summer Exhibition. Hot Pants (Replication II) was a tribute to kitsch, 1970s underwear catalogues and incorporated an overload of patterns and mismatched colours around a man admiring himself in a mirror (wearing a vest and pants). Alongside Hot Pants hung the Garden of Venus, a monochrome response to the colourful disarray of the former painting, but portraying a full frontal, female nude. Venus started life as a photograph of a fully-clothed woman who I then re-created as an imagined nude. This was a personal, subversive response to my own childhood memories of drawing clothes over the Page Three Girls of the Sun newspaper.
As we enter 2019, my new workplaces less emphasis on the body as a nude and greater emphasis on ideas of the human form in repetition. Patterns and motifs are more dominant and engulf human form. Trompe l’oeil comes into play with surface technique, with collage elements mimicking digital renditions mimicking printmaking processes.
Selected Group Exhibitions