Contextual Statement 

Through my practice, I am interested in exploring the relationship between intention and chance.  On unstretched canvas with very fluid paint, the motion of the body is recorded and responded to with layers that are an addition or subtraction of the painted field. Liquid paint likes to move with autonomy and it tends to determine its own course across the canvas, running into or avoiding other colours in its path until it has settled on a spot to sit. At this point, I select an appropriate form from my catalogue of shapes. This an ongoing notebook of shapes that I have photographed from my walks and drawn into this notebook. I allow the ink to bleed through the page to copy it onto the other page so I can view the shape both ways.  I feel there is a certain level of respect that I owe them after borrowing them from the world. I like to use the overlap of the forms and the gesture to keep the eye moving around the painting. Often the shapes point somewhere or have a certain gravitational pull one way that highlights or contrasts a moment of gesture and colour.  As John Yao aptly wrote (about Steve DiBenedetto’s work) “It looks as if he has done one drawing on top of another or, to put it another way, added one vocabulary (geometric) to another (organic).”[1] 

 

Scrubbing and wiping and pushing and pulling things towards and away from solidity. Layering tints and patinas over shapes and gestures, creating an atmosphere for shapes to navigate through. Keeping small pockets of the underlayers free to create holes for the viewer to climb through and enter into. 

 

I think of my work much in the way that Julie Korneffel writes about hers, “It’s hovering between openness and simplicity is quite a dialectic movement. The image evolves through adding and taking away”[2] My borrowed shapes act as punctuation in the painting, giving platforms for the eye to jump off of and around. I like to think my forms have a certain level of sentience. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they chose their placements in the painting, but they feel a particular way about being there. Some like a proud actress cast in centre stage, and others like a toddler in a pushchair who ends up where they are outside of their control and are relatively uncomfortable about it.

 

There is something about the ambiguity of an atmosphere that leaves room for thoughts in a way that doesn't direct it adversely. There will always be a wavering sense or feeling towards a particular thing, whether the colours remind someone of spring or the camp representation of outer space as seen in Guardians of the Galaxy. However, without obvious and immediately recognisable imagery, abstraction denies you the neatness of an answer. Charlene Von Heyl’s work looks at the “wavering between what is and is not”[3] saying, “You are aware of the fact that you are looking at something that you cannot describe: that you can only understand or not understand. So you are arriving at a knowledge that cannot be translated into words.”[3]

 

The paintings reach beyond the cropped ends of the canvas - the painting could continue on beyond its physical edge. The fraying edge alludes to the physicality of the surface but also acts as a gesture outside of the painted field. The final act of cutting the painting from its proverbial bounds and borders is a relief from duty on my part. I soak up the freedom of no longer having to make decisions.

[1] Yao, John. “What Do Artists Need To Make Their Work?”. Hyperallergic, 18/04/20. (accessed 22/05/20) https://hyperallergic.com/556323/what-do-artists-need-to-make-their-work/ 

[2] Korneffel, Julie. In Interview with Jamie Martinez. ArteFuse, 02/09/19. (accessed 15/07/20) https://artefuse.com/2019/02/09/interview-with-artist-jule-korneffel/ 

[3]Enright, Robert. “Too Little And Too Much, All the Time” Border Crossing Magazine, Issue 131. September 2014. https://bordercrossingsmag.com/article/too-little-and-too-much-all-the-time (accessed 27/10/20)