“Pixels, cells, fly eyes, reptile scales, building blocks with visual similarity. I think of my paintings as screens or monitors for surveying this zooming codec.”
Interview by: Natalia Gonzalez Martin
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where did you study?
I’m a painter working in Cornwall near Penzance. I grew up close by but studied Textiles and Art in Cardiff, then lived in Bristol for a while before spending many years travelling.
Your travels through Costa Rica shaped the subject in your work, what are you interested about in the natural landscape?
Some experiences feel exotic, foreign enough to awaken deep awareness through contrast, which can exert a powerful grip on one’s imagination. This state of flux can prime all types of interest. For me it was the difference between wide open landscape and tight Jungle interior. All the way down to leaf structure or pixel like reptilian scale. This idea of focus, zooming in and out is how I generate my paintings.
There is a strong digital aspect on your work, how do you understand this relationship with your depiction of natural subjects?
Pixels, cells, fly eyes, reptile scales, building blocks with visual similarity. I think of my paintings as screens or monitors for surveying this zooming codec. The artist can be like a coder, encoding a signal for transmission and the work functions as the decoder - useful for playback and editing.
Your work is predominantly gestural and almost intuitive, can you talk about your process and the different influences that inspire you?
Texture slows the eye down, line and gesture speed it up. Opposites attract and the eye loves pattern. Drawing from my image archive conjures a kind of schematic framework to paint on. I treat the canvas like paper, so marks have a freshness and appear indelible. However the surface is slippery so there’s the option to remove paint and allow under drawing to come through. This process isn’t additive it’s integrative. I’m seeking an unabashed directness because that flow is the closest I will ever get to depicting the imperfect perfection of nature.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
Julie Mehretu at White Cube and Secundino Hernandez at Victoria Miro all in one day blew me away. Both technically astounding, the character, the embodied thinking and individual touch resonates so strongly. What I find interesting is the angles they both pursue, the language has similarities but their subjects of interest are wonderfully varied.
How do you go about naming your work?
Occasionally I reference the painting’s subject matter. More often it’s the content and internal logic which can suggest something otherwise. I like things suspended. Abstracted, atomised forms and strata existing in liquid, air or sometimes a vacuum of space. I gravitate towards these things again and again.
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
I’m moving house soon and building a studio next door, which will be great as I can work on some larger projects in a more intensive way without all the commuting. But at the moment I'm focused on my newborn baby boy.
All images are courtesy of the artist
Publish date: 21/08/19