The core theme of my work is the exploration of painting in the 21st century, with a particular focus on portraiture. My aim is to create a dialogue around the need for painting to reposition itself in an image-saturated digital age, which cannot be approached without an implicit awareness of the rich history and tradition of the genre.
I have taken inspiration from the theories and works of the painter Merlin James, who argues for ‘medium-specificity’ in painting, believing that painting has its own culture, reality, history, traditions and genres. Painting is such a complex medium that I feel the need to fully understand it in order to be able to create a dialogue about it.
I explore questions such as ‘What constitutes a contemporary portrait?’, ‘What can a painting say about someone beyond the ubiquitous selfie?’, ‘Is there still a need for the painted portrait?’ and ‘What is the relationship between the artwork and its audience?’ As a painter, I am concerned and engaged with the craft and language of painting – both the object that is painted and the language that comprises painting. My work is concerned with the way a painting looks, communicates and especially circulates, given the ability of a painting to be present and dispersed at the same time – existing in the dual realities of the ‘physical’ and the ‘digital’.
My work expresses the contradictions of painting in the digital age: it is a physical entity that must reckon with a digital world. To this end, I appropriate subject matter from the internet and present it in an ‘analogue’ form, in a liberated and interesting way, creating new meaning from mundane imagery which exists uniquely online. Through the physical language of painting, I re-contextualise these found images, subverting them by fracturing the forms and reconfiguring them in a painterly style which pushes the line of abstract and figuration in a way that evokes the hybrid space that is at the junction between the real and the virtual.
MA Fine Art, Chelsea, London.
Diploma in Portrait Painting, Heatherley School of Fine Art, Chelsea, London.