Venue website: sunsetstudiopeckham.com
Site directions: www.copelandpark.com/map/?location=c4
I use ‘From Lines’ to describe my method of portrait composition involving a rapid, instinctive marker pen line while holding the idea of ‘portrait’ in my mind. This immediately delineates both the composition and gestural energy of the body. So rather than carry out the formation of an imagined image or a view from life, these works start from lines that are freed from intention, an approach pioneered by surrealism’s automatic drawing, particularly Joan Miro. But the next stage is not automatic painting. I look to see how the pattern of the drawing would act as a notion for a portrait. Mark making borrowed from Frank Auerbach; the application, scraping off and reworking of oil paint then fleshes a figure onto the ‘bones’ of the first line. The aim is that the finished character is not one that was designed but was born.
Not all works in the show start with a marker pen line, but none had a final image in mind when applying the first mark. The approach is closer to sculpture in that the malleable oil paint is laid down before the form is modelled from the material.
This evolution process is even more present in my stop motion animations. Working on the same canvas, every frame requires a constant adding, moving and removing of material in tiny increments without an end point in mind to push the resulting film closer to a natural phenomenon than a narrative sequence.
This search for form through the inner logic of the materials was influenced by research for my art history thesis on Francis Bacon who attempted to drag figuration out of a series of asignifying marks. I hold Cezanne’s determination to ‘paint forces’ firmly in mind. This is most clearly expressed in my painting ‘A Massing’, where each brush stroke is in a gravitational dance with each other.
Thank you to Cottia Thorowgood, Steph Lowe, Kirstie Little (Giles Miller Studio) Lizzie Lowe, Ian Lowe, Alex Rimmer and Ester Eyre for their support in this project.