Mysterious Tissue: Of Flesh and Stars
My new work focuses upon the surfacing impulses of the ancient feminine wisdom principle which is sometimes known as Sophia. In this work I explore feelings around the body, my body, animal bodies, and how I learn about the world through all my senses. I see that we are all connected, that boundaries are subtle, fluid; I see that a superimposition can occur.
David Abram (The Spell of the Sensuous) puts it much better than I, so I will quote him as follows: 'The breathing, sensing body draws its sustenance and its very substance from the soils, plants, and elements that surround it; it continually contributes itself, in turn, to the air, to the composting earth, to the nourishment of insects and oak trees and squirrels, ceaselessly spreading out of itself as well as breathing the world into itself, so that it is very difficult to discern, at any moment, precisely where this living body begins and where it ends......Far from restricting my access to things and to the world, the body is my very means of entering into relation with all things.'
This way of seeing chimes with my own as well as the teachings of Sophia and most native or first nations peoples. When I make work it is my intention to seek out what is hidden; just below the surface of our flesh, in the soil, or in the breath of the air around us. So my quest is finding Earth and Heaven together on the paper.
I like to use watercolour, gum arabic and graphite drawing mediums on a gesso-prepared surface. I find the gesso gives a smooth yet durable surface whilst the watercolour is fluid, rapid, delicate, and easily changed. It is a responsive, living, feminine medium; perfect for my task.
For many years I have experienced vivid and instructive dreams. These serve as a commentary and guide to my waking world and to my work as an artist. If I am in doubt about a certain path they will give me pointers or warnings. They show me how 'the human intellect (is) rooted in, and secretly borne by, our forgotten contact with the multiple nonhuman shapes that surround us.' (Abram).
Awards and research:
2008/3 Short-listed for Jerwood Drawing Prize
2008 Black Swan Open, joint winner
2005-9 Research trips to Venice Biennale, Rome, Berlin, Frankfurt
2007 Recipient of second major award from Arts Council England, South West
2005 Awarded travel bursary to Venice Biennale by Arts Council & Creative Skills
2004 Recipient of first major award from Arts Council England