I am an artist Based in the New Forest, I graduated from Winchester School of Art in 2009 with a degree in Fine Art Painting. I have also completed a Foundation course at Oxford Brookes.
My current work is about subtle manipulation. Left deliberately ambiguous, the viewer is invited to build up a narrative from the suggestions on the canvas. I use photographs as a starting point, cropping them to remove information or highlight specific details. I have created images designed to instil feelings of guilt in the viewer, luring them in to look with pleasing aesthetics and particular composition techniques, but ultimately repelling them by disturbing their comfort and making them self-conscious about where they have directed their gaze. Working from film stills and photography has been a crucial part of this creative process as I attempt to capture brief moments that contain a powerful emotional or psychological charge.
I use the medium of paint to communicate my ideas because paint heightens the subjectivity of the viewing experience. By painting in response to a photographic image I am adding another dimension to the information through the paint itself and, in so doing, commenting on the ways in which information can be reduced or artificially added to. This extends the interpretation because it is in the nature of paint to play on our sensitivities and this psychological impact is of great interest to me. Application of paint, choice of colour and composition can all affect the viewer in slightly different ways.
In developing an interest in photo-journalism and the type of images available publicly from the media, I have explored uses of surveillance and ambiguity, and instances of misinterpretation. I have been concerned with the credibility and propriety of imagery in today’s society with our changing taboos and society’s need to manipulate the consumer. A Philosophy of Fear by Lars Svendsen has inspired me to look at how strongly we respond to things which we don’t fully understand and to things that are unknown to us. Svendsen discusses society’s insecurities and the ways in which the media takes advantage of them for particular gains. As a primary resource I have been using newspaper reports to give a basis to my painting and in order to establish a blur between perceived fact and reality.
Using painting to manipulate the viewer, their views, senses and attitudes towards ideas, is similar to the role of the media. An understanding that journalists have a responsibility to relay a narrative to the public fascinates me. I see the roles of the journalist and painter as entwined and I am interested in how easily stories and facts have the potential to lose their sincerity or, conversely, to gain an importance that isn’t necessarily appropriate.
I am often drawn to subjects with a dark facet and I embrace the idea that ‘fear gives our lives a shove - without it we would sink into passivity’ (A Philosophy of Fear). The sinister and gruesome often provide aesthetic delight and it has been argued that, perversely, to some degree humans find enjoyment in being threatened.