Yvette Blackwood

Favourite woman artist and why/how has she/her art or life inspired you? 

Charline von Heyl for her fiercely playful and unexpected choices, always fresh, fantastic harsh colour, mixing organic and hard-edged shapes, she takes symbols out of context using them for their visual qualities alone. I rate Laura Owens for similar reasons, her tricks and complex wit. I picked up a brilliant zine, The OG #11 ‘Metamorphoses’, by Amy Sillman at her recent Camden Arts show, she timewarps politics, plays with language, image, perception and mythology. Paula Rego, for her brave and unapologetic use of her own fear and the variety of defiance in the facial expressions and poses she creates, women studying/watching women, subverting gender roles, demonstrating power play.

 

1. Galactic throw, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 70cm x 50cm.jpeg

Women globally are far less represented in galleries and museums than their male counterparts. Have you yourself found the art world difficult to navigate as a woman or have you come up against any particular obstacles and how did you deal with them? Do you support all-women shows etc..? Why/why not? Have you noticed any changes?

The truth of this starkly remains, but it’s not a barrier I’ve experienced. Maybe because I’ve remained for the most part outside the ‘art world’ showing work in independent and alternative venues. I do support all women shows mainly because I’m looking to relate, to find behaviour that might be familiar, or with which I can empathise or feel uplifted. I went to the ‘Women Can’t Paint’ show at Turps, it was impressive, there was a lot to love. I think changes are happening all the time. Activists, such as Guerrilla Girls, Pussy Riot, The Exhibitionist, keep the conversation going and make people/galleries accountable. It’s important to keep making the work whoever you are, persist, put yourself out there. 

2. Chronic looper, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 70cm x 50cm.jpeg

 

When did you first discover art? and when did you realise that you wanted to pursue it professionally?

 

The idea of being an artist has always been in my head, but my severe social anxiety has held me back. It’s been a long, painful, complicated and continuing education out of hiding. Growing up in Brighton in the 80s and 90s was a brightly coloured assault course. Music was key. Outside of my deeply political family I was surrounded by creative hedonists seeking to express themselves, they’re burnt into my memory. 

When I was 5 years old, I was the youngest of 4 kids in the school chosen to draw a design to be transferred onto a melamine plate, it seemed like a big deal at the time. The kudos I received at school was polarised by the odd reaction when I took it home. My first lesson in how the same image can provoke opposing reactions, whatever the intention. That moment seems defining. 

I remember sitting outside dad’s broadsheet looking at Steve Bell’s strips and leader slays. The only art at home at that time was a very small repro of Constable’s Flatford Mill (‘Scene on a Navigable River’) and a large print of a grey bridge over grey water. The art I saw elsewhere in Brighton was mostly street art or kitsch. 

 My first experience of Schiele’s work came via an Athena poster, crouched among all the usual men holding babies, cheeky tennis players, bands and film stars. The harsh black isolating lines, sickly flesh and imploring stare were magnetic. I spent countless hours poring over art books after that. I painted and wrote all over my bedroom walls. 

In 2010, when I was living in Camden, a friend of my flatmate came over, saw my paintings and unexpectedly asked me to join her art collective. In 2011, I started my own collective. I learnt a lot from all the artists I worked with and the exhibitions we created over the 4 years it ran. The performance artists, sculptors, installation and sound artists were a revelation. My partner is also an artist and he’s a fantastic support and inspiration. It’s taken time to know how to be an artist for myself, but it’s here. 

3. Catalytic converter, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 70cm x 50cm.jpeg

 

Can you tell me a bit about you/your background? (eg where are you from/based? What has your educational path been like or are you self-taught?)

 

I studied Art History and English at York University. I’ve pinballed all over London (and a year in Australia) since 2002. I’m at my happiest in Deptford, South East London, with a studio at Art Hub, Creekside. I’ve just been selected for the 2019/20 Turps Banana Offsite Programme. 

York was walls inside walls inside walls, endless avoiding-leaving-the-house parties and low-key raves in the old post office and a converted church, sliced through by a neck wrenching art history trip to sunglasses after dark New York. Saw some Warhol, Nan Goldin and Cindy Sherman at MoMA or the Whitney, or similar. (I’m going back later this year with new eyes). I moved back to Brighton after university then fled to London and bootcamp life lessons during which I wore only black, red and grey. 

I qualified as a picture restorer and spent some time in a private studio but decided that path wasn’t for me. I moved to Brisbane, of all places. A year cut off from almost everything I knew. The vast strangeness and audacious attitude of Australia left a distinct mark, everything is new and possible there. After I returned to London, I started the collective which changed everything for me. 

I haven’t studied Fine Art, so I’m a self-taught painter. My dad had an insatiable lust for life and new experiences. He didn’t go to university but taught himself 6 languages. He loved to self-educate, he lived life his way. 

I start at Turps in September, I can’t wait. I’m also going on an Arvon course In Hebden Bridge this October, Hybrid Writing – writing in unchartered waters, tutored by Tania Hershman, Maria Fusco and Kristen Kreider. 

4. Phantasmagoric permissions, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 70cm x 50cm.jpeg

 

What themes or ideas do you explore in your work? 

I’m interested in moments where control is disrupted, moments of change or potential change, notions of inclusivity versus alienation, the human condition and intense relationships, family as society, betrayal and reconciliation, loss and recovery. The micro-macro of it all; the power and optimism in the unspoken language of colour. I use paint to create somewhere and something else within this age of anxiety. I’m addicted to the freedom through ambiguity that abstraction provides and fascinated by ideas or choices where norms are subverted, how negatives, mistakes and accidents can become positives. 

Anxiety greatly informs my work. I became interested in the recesses of the brain where memories and fears are formed. Thinking about what the voice of the amygdala and hippocampus might look like, the physical shapes and connections, how unconscious activity may escape and hang in the air between us. How inputs are consumed, filtered and reworked into visual outputs. Artists as catalytic converters. I have an ongoing series of paintings, Limbic sprawl, based around these ideas.

5. Cathartic roll, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 50cm x 40cm.jpeg

What have been your influences? 

I love colour-saturated cinema or films which use colour as a device, human interest/dysfunction, horror, black comedy, and magical realism films. Wim Wender’s Paris Texas. Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not a Witch. Kubrick, Lynch. Jorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, Lobster). Agnès Varda (Faces Places, One Sings The Other Doesn’t). Joanna Hogg (Exhibition, Archipelago). Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves, Nymphomaniac, The House That Jack Built). Cronenberg (Videodrome, Naked Lunch), Ken Russell’s The Devils, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin. John Waters. Lynne Ramsey’s Morvern Callar. Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain, Shane Meadows (Dead Man’s Shoes, This Is England, The Virtues). Roy Andersson’s absurdist multi-beige ‘Living trilogy’….  

There’s a scene in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest where Harding loses it when he’s being questioned. While he tries to speak about universal truths the other patients spring to life. Chief (the narrator in the book) is the perfect silent, omnipresent but displaced watcher. This scene was used to create an exhibition with the collective, we took inanimate and living sculptures out of context to interact in new ways, with comic and alarming results. 

So many artworks. Schiele and Otto Dix, back in the day. Francis Bacon. Von Heyl’s P., Cargo,Corrido and Happy End. R.B. Kitaj’s Cecil Court, London W.C.2. (The Refugees). Laura Owens’s Untitled 2012 from Pavement Karaoke. Janiva Ellis’s cartoon explosions. Tinka Bechert’s cuts and swipes. Elizabeth Chisolm’s surveillance gaze. Jules de Balincourt’s Moving Mountains, Moving Tribes. Tony Oursler’s Self Portrait in Yellow. Paula Rego’s The Betrothal triptych and The Family. Georg Herold’s contorted fetish sculptures. Zander Blom’s rockstar approach to dinosaur ownership. Henry Hudson’s recent nothing sticks to nothing show, an immersive painting without paint. Ben Jamie’s oozing and tearing. The blurb written by David Northedge that accompanied Ben Jamie’s Comfortably Dumb show is bang on.

The pleasure-seeking colours of Brighton have influenced me. The mysterious landscape of my Irish ancestry. And my gran’s place still exists vividly in my mind. I spent a lot of time there drawing, reading, listening to records and Welsh mountain secrets. Her long orange-green-brown hallway, blue rinse, pink nail varnish, turquoise-yellow-red kitchen with twin tub earthquake, tabloid tit rags, bingo cards, Lambert and Butler silver, plain and pearl, stockings and suspenders, pelmets and tiebacks, gladioli heavy with peach, bright green baize and whispers of snooker (Taylor, Interesting, Hurricane, Dracula) in a gold-black-burgundy front room, my uncle’s provocative books and mags, stacks of vinyl, no dust on the needle. It was a haven away from the world. 

Books: So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away by Richard Brautigan is a beautifully slow and sad novel, the art of repetition and elevating of small details, a study of lost souls, completely of its time and devastating. I love Brautigan’s psychedelic but earthy vision. Patti Smith’s Just Kids, for her dedication to the art life and honesty. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks, peculiar doors of perception. Tania Hershman’s surreal science meets art flash fiction. Caroline Bird’s wise, deft and darkly comic poems. Ali Smith’s Spring experiments with disruption, hope and light. The Late Hector Kipling, Thewlis’s art poke, the twisted inner dialogue of the painter. Interaction of Color by Josef Albers has cheering weight. Narrative is important to me, even though I paint abstractly. I like the idea of an intensely silent protagonist. While noise has colour, colour shouts without sound. 

 

6. Recognition, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 101cm x 86cm.jpeg

Do you have any advice for other artists? Particularly students/emerging? 

Oof. Well, I’m an emerging artist, so this is advice I give myself which might work for others (I’m still working on it). You’ve cavorted under the pier for long enough, swim in the sea before it evaporates. My mum has recently started painting, it’s never too late. Question everything but question and answer yourself first. Accept faults, be supportive. Recognise loops, make new chances. Throw yourself in. Work on what you have rather than what you don’t have, it’s surprising what arrives. When life hurts, use it and rework it. Seriously not seriously. I’ll have an open studio in December, come and have a chat.

Miranda Boulton

Favourite woman artist and why/how has she/her art or life inspired you?

One of my favourite women artists is Gina Magid (www.ginamagid.com). I stumbled across her work by chance when traveling in my early 30’s. She had a show at Acuna Hansen Gallery in downtown LA. I fell hard for her work. It was a transitional time for me having left my job and home in the UK. I was seeking out inspiration and other ways of seeing. Her work holds so much that inspires me. Her mix of materials silk, sewing, gloopy and smooth paint, layering of images and areas of solid colour and negative space. It felt fresh and punk, her free association of images manages to feel playful yet deep and thoughtful at the same time. I have since emailed her and thanked her for the inspiration. One day I would love to do a studio visit with her in New York.

When did you first discover art? and when did you realise that you wanted to pursue it professionally?

I always wanted to be a painter. On my father’s side both my grandparents were artists. My grandfather passed away before I was born but I was very close to my granny. I grew up with paintings all around me with my granny telling me stories about her days at the Royal College. Being an artist was mysterious and exciting, it was always a possibility for me. My grandpa’s studio was still in their house while I was growing up, she hadn’t cleared it out. I used to go in there without anyone knowing and just stand and stare and imagine him painting, taking in all the paints, brushes and canvases. There was this romance in my head about being an artist and I knew it was what I wanted to be.

Can you tell me a bit about you/your background? (eg where are you from/based? What has your educational path been like or are you self-taught?)

I grew up in Ipswich. Art and history were the main subjects I was drawn to at school. Back then I didn’t feel confident enough in myself to pursue fine Art at university. I saw friends going and falling out of love with their work and art. Instead I took the Art History route and went to study in Sheffield. It was a fantastic course and opened me up to theory and critical thinking, but I still hankered after the materiality of paint and making my own work. I did various courses throughout my twenties. I wasn’t until I hit thirty that I decided it was time to really go for my dream. I went traveling with my husband to US and Mexico for six months. When I came back I set up a studio and worked part time, so I could focus on painting. I had two children in my thirties, I was determined it wouldn’t take away from my painting and being in the home actually gave me time to explore and develop my practice. When they were small I would put the video monitor on them while they slept and go to my garden studio to paint. Having time constraints made me more decisive and productive. When my second son was one I started on the correspondence course with a new art school, Turps Banana. I thought one year would be enough, three years later I was ready to leave. It was just what I needed, a deadline every three months, critical input and the opportunity to meet other painters. Many of whom I have exhibited with and are now good friends.

What themes or ideas do you explore in your work?

There are two main theme strands I explore in my work. The first is concerned with subject matter. My work focuses on the nature morte of flora. For me flower paintings contain everything, life, death, drama, birth, it’s got the big life events covered and the everyday. It gives me a vehicle to experiment with the formal elements. I have enjoyed exploring the history of flower painting through my work recently looking at Dutch 17th century painters such as Rachel Ruysch, Morandi and Winifred Nicholson.

The other strand is to do with my process. I paint from memory and have developed over the last three years a distinct process for obtaining my imagery. I look at images on the internet late at night and commit them to memory. I take in my feelings, the glare of the screen, synthetic colours and my thoughts at the time of viewing. I try to hold these as closely as possible and then paint from the memory the next morning. I feel that my conscious and unconscious are closer at night when my mind is uncluttered. It is my unconscious responses to the images that I am most interested in exploring through the process of painting. I am painting away from the memory and towards a more instinctive response where the outcome often surprises me and takes on a life of its own. I do all my working out on the canvas often wiping off the layers and working through the memories in real time/space.

Through this process it allows me to explore my perception of now and simultaneously my remembered experiences. New paintings are often overlaid on older works creating an archaeology, which I think of as being like timelines on a tree. Sometimes I paint from the same memory over and over, noting how the present can filter and manipulate. It is the layers of memory, which I am interested in exploring through the process of painting.

What have been your influences?

I am just going to brainstorm here, in no particular order:

David Lynch films, Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon, Patti Smith, Blondie, Matisse, Vlaminck, Amy Sillman, Derek Jarman’s garden, Frida Kahlo, Philip Guston, Francis Bacon, Richard Diebenkorn, Sylvia Plath – The Belljar, Joan Mitchell, John Berger, Cy Twombly, Paul Nash, Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Charles Bukowski, to name a few.

Do you have any exhibitions coming up? Where/when? Tell us about them/what are they about?

After being quiet for the last year things are a bit crazy at the moment. I have a two person show ‘Double Time’ with Jane Pryor opening at Arthouse1 on 6th June, runs until 29th. We share a studio, this exhibition explores the deep communications that come from sharing time and space:

“Through years of visits to each other’s studios, and now sharing a creative space, Miranda Boulton and Jane Pryor have developed a visual simpatico. They have very different processes, but there is a compelling resonance to their work. Double Time explores the gap where these vibrations merge; that is, the space between studio sessions, layers, gestures and marks. Crucially, it uncovers the place where looking, thinking and remembering unite.”

I also have a painting in the Creekside Open and have just found out I have been accepted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

DOUBLE INVITE.png
Orange Light, 2018. Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm.

Orange Light, 2018. Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm.

Silver Streak, 2018. Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm.

Silver Streak, 2018. Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm.

Sideways, 2018. Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm.

Sideways, 2018. Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm.

Tumbling After You, 2018. Oil on canvas 120 x 100 cm.

Tumbling After You, 2018. Oil on canvas 120 x 100 cm.

Waves, 2019. Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

Waves, 2019. Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

Before an After, 2018. Oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm.

Before an After, 2018. Oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm.

Amaranth, 2019. Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

Amaranth, 2019. Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

Teetering, 2019. Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

Teetering, 2019. Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

After M, 2018. Oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm.

After M, 2018. Oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm.

Catherine Cassidy

Favourite woman artist and why/how has she/her art or life inspired you? 

 

It would be hard to isolate one favourite woman artist but I could mention a few where I love their work and their vision and their bravery. By bravery I mean their sheer indifference to the zeitgeist and their dogged commitment to what they really want to do. It’s brave to be like that...to face the possibility of non-recognition in an art world that favours high visibility, supercontacts, sales, profits and profile.  I would immediately think of older women artists as I can see their wonderful strong and long pathway and dogged continuity of vision over time.

Rose Wylie (UK), Louise Bourgeois (NY), Carmen Herrera (USA), Sally Gabori ( AUS). Sometimes they may have worked without recognition for a long time, sometimes late painters, newly arrived or sometimes a legend. It’s the power of their individual vision that I see shining through. This is what art-making is about. First you make it for yourself, then you aim to ensure its connectivity to others.

This is the powerful thing about the women artists I’ve mentioned- that amazing connectivity of spirit.

I think women shine in this area. It’s a generative, visceral thing... .we lead generative, visceral lives, lives that correspond with our bodies, with paint and colour, life and death.  It’s something so very far apart from technique and concept and it says something about the world, about bodilypresence, whether its landscape, scupture or abstraction, its very much of the world. Think Frankenthaler, Rothenberg, O’Keefe, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, May Moodunuthi, Thelma Burke and all those above. All pure animal presence.

 

 

Women globally are far less represented in galleries and museums than their male counterparts. Have you yourself found the art world difficult to navigate as a woman or have you come up against any particular obstacles and how did you deal with them? Do you support all-women shows etc..? Why/why not? Have you noticed any changes?

 

The question of under-representation of women globally is a difficult and distressing thing to address. I’m quite fed up at times with being female. It’s still such an obstacle by the fact that we are still talking about in 2019! .... there’s such a long way to go for women all over the world that it seems a bit precious to be concerned with women artists in the free world. As long as most of our institutions, workplaces, governments are primarily still headed up by men with what seems like disastrous results we still have an equality fight on our hands. But women are demanding their rightful place and voice everywhere now. Its just that all this demanding is really very tiresome and distracting, all this defending and fighting for what should just be there. Being male, of course means you can’t know how this feels, you may think you do, you may defend and uphold women’s rights but you don’t know how it really feels to be constantly addressing it and living with this inequality, having always lived with it, this thing that’s always there.

 

So male dominance anywhere has to be challenged head on and so here we are answering this question, making art and defending women’s making of it- we have to make our presence known as people, art-makers, painters, not women. It’s the wrong end of the pineapple. That’s why I don’t support all-women shows. I don’t want to be lumped in with other women, some sort of art-breed apart. I am a painter and I want to show with other painters in general. I don’t aspire to be part of a painterly ‘sisterhood’. I can’t relate to that at all. It sounds absurd to me – sort of reverse sexism. Any measures that isolate women and hold them apart is absurd to me, doesn’t get us anywhere. I want to be on an equal playing field thank you.

 

As women we may bring something different to that playing field as I’ve suggested above but in the end all artists are just trying to make the most successful image they can. How they get there can be very diverse.

There’s such a long history of painting being a male-dominated practice. Biologically, men have had that time in spades. Painting is a greedy beast and it wants all of you. If you don’t give it, you will not find out what you can do, You need to work 24/7. I think that’s why we now see the proliferation of older women emerging with amazing, fully-formed work, both indigenous and non-indigenous., they now have the time, the time to allow themselves to be gobbled up by their practice if they so choose.

Its such a blast to see this happening, this is where its coming from as far as I’m concerned and where collectors should be seriously looking.  

 

 

 

When did you first discover art? and when did you realise that you wanted to pursue it professionally?

 

I don’t remember ever being conscious of ‘discovering’ art. It was and is part of my whole life. I always did it. I had access as a child to all art materials, a woodshed for sculpture, a library for looking, thinking, reading and dreaming... and dream I did, I looked at illustrators, made books, painted in oils at 10 yrs old, roamed the bush, was isolated but very free and was mad about any visual response I could lay my hands on.. I became an auto-didact at a very young age and had my own visual language strong inside me. 

I finished high school, wanted to go straight to art school, which were then true dens of iniquity, to the max, not necessarily fostering professional careers but certainly fostering a culture of disobedience and disruption- good stuff for a thinker....and generally perceived as turning out no-hoper bohemians.  

My formal art studies continued on in fits and starts according to family life and I ended up doing a Masters in Painting at NAS in 2010. Mainly I wanted to challenge myself on a painting idea, that of Metonymy in Contemporary Landscape Painting. Basically this concerns the psychic return of place without description. Once I hooked into what a metonymic response was,  my research led me to the Sung painters of 10thC China, the first abstractionists in thought and practice. I was so hungry to defend it to myself. But I knew I would have to also successfully justify my beliefs in both a thesis and in my own body of work. But I also knew it was so powerful it was going to then hold up my work forever. 

 

It came to pass just like this and I emerged with what I wanted from my work so strong in me that its now just part of how I think and work everyday.

I am told my work is powerful and if it is, its because of this belief in a psychic return of very important visual signals, things that we’ve forgotten or devalued. 

Its not irretrievable.

It’s just a matter of finding it again. 

Its also what I teach in workshops, how to find it in yourself, how to recognise it really, drag it out from under all the guff and logic that has been laid over it ( by men huh! ) for millennia.

Greek logic, the science of sight, perspective, colour theory, good god, it goes on forever. Nothing whatsoever to do with deep connective human response.

 

 

 

Can you tell me a bit about you/your background? (eg where are you from/based? What has your educational path been like or are you self-taught?)

 

I come from country Victoria. My family were some of the early colonisers of the Central and Western District. Wheat pioneers from Prussia. And others were part of early Hobart and the Victorian goldfields. I’ve seen a lot of space and flat country under floodwaters, driven great distances, been very aware of the silence of forests, lots of river gums standing in water, unmade roads, night-driving, caravan in tow. I live south of Sydney and have my studio at home. I guess I am self-taught to a degree, I’ve certainly had more years teaching myself than I’ve had at art school and all that working things out on your own was really valuable to me.

It made me rebellious, self-initiating, confident that I always have images in my head and that they have worth. Basically all the things an artist needs and not necessarily anything that can be taught.

I saw an interview a little while ago with the German painter Georg Baselitz in which he stated that artists must discard everything. 

Start again. Clear the decks. That is their duty.

 

 

 

What themes or ideas do you explore in your work? 

 

I don’t really believe in ideas or concepts. 

I think they’re a death knell for painting and too much is made of their importance.

I’m happy to be challenged on this.

Everything comes, finally from the painting itself, the doing informs everything. If you don’t submit to the will of the painting but instead push your conscious mind onto it, you will lose the game, be invaded by the subject and often by logic.

Bonnard was strong on this, don’t let the subject invade you, don’t let specifics take over, stay with what he called, ‘the first idea’. It’s a fine line between thinkng and not thinking. There are many decisions to be made very quickly as you work, these need to be made for you by the work itself. 

So learn to listen up and shut up. 

Starting with an idea or a concept is like planting yourself all over the work before its even born. 

Painting is a generative thing, it gives birth to itself. I firmly believe in the ‘animal’ – our unformed base nature as opening the door to this birth.

We just need to step aside and get out of the way.

As human beings its hard, we like to control things, like to think we can make all the decisions rather than just wait to hear them. 

 

This is a quote from “ The Worlds Body” by John Crowe Ransom from a Twombly catalogue:

“Images are pre- intellectual and independent of concepts....the image is the raw material of ideas.....the material cause.”

It cannot be dispossessed of a primordial freshness which ideas can never claim.

An idea is derivative and tamed. 

The image is in the natural or wild state and it has to be discovered there, obeying its own law  and none of ours. 

We think we can lay hold of the image and take it capture.... but it is not the real image but only the idea with the character beaten out of it.” 

 

That’s pretty much it for me, keep out of the damn thing, it has an energy of its own that you just need to recognize and travel with.

 

      

 

 

What is your process like? (Do you do a lot of research? Do you favour an intuitive approach? Do you do a lot of preparatory studies? Do you use photography/digital media? Do you concentrate on just one piece or do you work on several at the same time? How long do you spend working on each piece?)

 

My influences are everything really, every living thing. I love the Japanese concept of ‘ mono no aware’. – that is, all living things have being, even the rocks and the flowers of the earth.

I paint life, living things, energy, also light, air space, illumination.

I use stuff called paint which has energy of its own and some sticks.

It all goes down to form new life, new forms, new energy.

I Iook at the landscape a lot, make small non-descriptive works that hold some of the presence of the thing I see.

I just keep looking and thinking,  

Seeing and not thinking.

 

Do you have any advice for other artists? Particularly students/emerging? 

Know what you want from your work.

Don’t paint for the market.

Inform yourself.

Be there everyday.

As far as your work goes... be prepared to fail, fail, fail.

If you can’t hack this forever don’t do it.

 

 

Do you have any exhibitions coming up? Where/when?

 

This year I have just presented a solo show PLASTIQUE in Feb/March at Dungog Contemporary. These were all large format paintings of South Coast work.

 

March 30th sees some of my work in MODERN LOVE, a group show of abstraction opening at AK Bellinger Gallery Inverell opening March 30th. 

 

AK Bellinger Gallery will also be presenting my solo show ‘dearErth’ in Sydney at Project Gallery 90 in June. Final dates for this coming up soon.

 

In October, Work/Life Kiama will be curating a 4 month long show of south coast paintings. Final dates later in the year.

 

 

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Emma Roche

Favourite woman artist and why/how has she/her art or life inspired you? 

 

There are so many…. Amy Sillman, Lynda Benglis, Alice Neel, Marlene Dumas all for different reasons. The last few weeks I’ve been into Hannah Wilke’s gum photographs. Dumas and Sillman’s writing as well as their work.

 

Women globally are far less represented in galleries and museums than their male counterparts. Have you yourself found the art world difficult to navigate as a woman or have you come up against any particular obstacles and how did you deal with them? Do you support all-women shows etc..? Why/why not? 

 

I think it’s difficult for all artists, men and women – I don’t think anyone would say they find the art world easy to navigate. In terms of all women’s shows – I support them in that I was in one last year - a show called ‘Women Can’t Paint’ at TurpsGallery which took its title from Georg Baselitz’s interviews in der Spiegel and the Guardian (2013 and 2015). I really enjoyed being part of that and it was a gorgeous show.

 

I do think all-women shows can be problematic though, for a few reasons, mostly because often they seem to be added to a gallery’s programme as a kind of box-ticking. Last summer in Dublin there were quite a few all women shows but summer is graveyard territory and once autumn came the same galleries were putting on male solo shows back to back. Some galleries are also representing a larger percentage of male artists but that’s the same all over the world. There are exceptions but statistically that’s still the way it is, unsurprisingly.

 

 

When did you first discover art? and when did you realise that you wanted to pursue it professionally?

 

Probably first year in secondary school. I was lucky that the art department at school was really supportive and going to art college was taken seriously and presented as a real option.

 

 

Can you tell me a bit about you/your background? (egwhere are you from/based? What has your educational path been like or are you self-taught?)

 

I’m based just outside Gorey in Wexford, Ireland. I did my BA at NCAD in Dublin, MA at IADT, Dublin and recently the TurpsBanana Correspondence Course.

 

 

What themes or ideas do you explore in your practice? 

 

Everydayness, materiality, abstraction, figuration, bad painting, irreverence, pattern, formal systems, authority, figure heads, bosses…..

What is your process like? (Do you do a lot of research? Do you favour an intuitive approach? Do you do a lot of preparatory studies? Do you use photography/digital media? Do you concentrate on just one piece or do you work on several at the same time? How long do you spend working on each piece?)

 

It depends on what I’m working on. I have a large piece that I’ve been working on for the past three months and will probably still be working on it for another 3. I like when the process goes beyond intuition – if I’m really immersed in making, properly sucked in, the materials kind of take over. I work on several pieces at one time, always. It’s pretty haphazard when it’s going well.

 

 

Could you name a book you would recommend to every artist? (Not necessarily art-related)

And why?

 

Sweet Nothings by Marlene Dumas – essay called ‘Women and Painting’ – more of a poem really and SO good.

Virus by Linda Stupart.

Right now I’m reading a book by T’ai Smith called Bauhaus Weaving Theory and there is an essay called ‘Pictures Made of Wool’.

 

Do you have any advice for other artists? Particularly students/emerging? 

 

Be patient, realise that it’s a long game and don’t take compliments or criticism too seriously. 

Surround yourself with other artists if you can.

Wear gloves and masks and don’t get cadmium paints on your skin/mouth/eyes – it is poison!

Advice from students can be good too!! – younger artists are often far wiser than we give them credit for and less cynical. 

 

What has been your biggest challenge in pursuing art?

 

Time and money. After my MA, which was quite theory heavy, I took a long break where I wasn’t making work regularly and working a full time job– being away from the studio was brutal.Isolation is necessary for me to make work but it can be difficult so finding that balance is important too.

 

 

Do you have any exhibitions coming up? Where/when? 

Not right now. I am making work for this year and have a few studio visits coming up so let’s see.

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Cherry Pickles

Born in Bridgend, Wales, I did a mathematics degree in Northern Ireland before going to art school at Chelsea and the Slade. After that I had various bits of art scool teaching and residencies, most substantially; Falmouth School of Art, Corsham and St Andrews University. 


In the early/mid 80's I had the chance to live in Berlin and got to see the groundbreaking  "Zeitgeist"  exhibition in the ruin of the Riechstag. 


At about that time I moved to Wales and started teaching at Cardiff Art School and did some drawing workshops in Como, Italy. The first was with Gerhard Richter and the following year with Eric Fischl.

After Italy I was invited to take part in an International Artists residency at Omi, in Upstate NY. I was surprised and impressed by the way Americans were able to paint as if there were no problems attached to it.


I have had several Greek Government Scholarships where I travelled the country extensively sometimes with my family and sometimes alone. I also exhibited the work there; initially landscape and then self portraits.


I taught at Cardiff for a number of years and took time out to do a Residency at Altos De Chavon,  a very strict and impressive art school in the Dominican Republic. The school was housed in a replica Italian village designed by Felini's set designer and ranked as one of the 9 best art schools in the world.


More recently, I did the Guston McKim residency in Yaddo, which is one of the oldest artists and writers colonies in the US. It's former residents include; Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, Guston, John Cheever, Truman Capote, Patricia Heysmith etc. I used some of these characters in my self portraits, and with the help of other residents, re-enacted some scenes which may or may not have happened between them.


I'm currently teaching at the Royal Drawing School London and painting in West Wales.



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Kay Bainbridge

Kay Bainbridge is a painter who is inspired by and captures moments from nature. From this she invents painted landscapes where questions and statements can coexist. She aims to evoke emotions such a wonderment, melancholy and awkwardness. 

She was born in Scunthorpe , North Lincolnshire and is still inspired by the landscape and light that she grew up in. She studied Fine Art at Winchester School of Art and  Cambridge School of Art and has exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions. She currently works and lives in East London. 

Upcoming shows - Open Studio as part of Pump House Artist Collective at Bow Arts, Norton Quays, Royal Albert Wharf, London E16 2QP

Thursday 14th March 6-9pm 

Saturday 16th March 12- 6pm 


Solo show 2019 with Daphne Francis Gallery, Birmingham date tbc

 

Artist’s statement:

A painting comes into being when ideas and the act of painting coincide’ Ilse D’Hollander (1991)

 

The subject matter of my work is the process and physicality of oil paint and how it can be explored and presented to express inner and outer worlds. This usually means a meeting on the canvas of visual displays of colour, shape, light and forms with inner emotional experiences and memories. I have devised a formula to try to best facilitate this process and which allows a conversation to materialise.

The formula is not rigid and is used as a kind of DNA or acts as a social structure might, from which the process can push and pull against.

 

The conversation is about asking questions about the process; changing, adding and taking away, in the hope of achieving some sort of resolution, where all the elements of the process can coexist.

 

Before the painting is started and the formula is applied, I make observational drawings and studies. This is my source material and is usually something I see that resonates, or a visual event, of which I feel the need to explore further. This inspiration comes from nature, the internet, film or photography. Often the sourcing is also influenced by the changing of the seasons and memory.

 

The formula consists of a loosely painted grid, an abstract pattern or an old painting. Directly onto this I paint marks taken directly from an observational drawing or study I had made previously. The conversation can then begin about the direction of the painting, the push and pull against the underpainting, the crossing and re-crossing of the border between outer and inner, between actual and symbolic worlds. Sometimes the underpainting is barely visible in the final image but always adds to the layering, and within this, clarity emerges, but it is important as this stage to keep the equilibrium and not overwork, as the symbolist Stephane Mallarme describes

 

To name an object is to suppress three quarters of the enjoyment of the poem, which derives from the pleasure of step-by-step discovery: suggestion, that is the dream…to evoke an object little by little, so as to bring out a state of the soul or, inversely, to choose an object and bring out of it a state of the soul through a series of unravellings

 

Often, there is also a conversation in my work between the natural and the man-made and between the self-contained and the non-contained. I’m particularly intrigued to explore the meeting of all these notions within the space of the canvas and that by asking these questions within the painting, it may lead to bigger political and environmental questions arising from the work.

W

Parasol, oil on canvas, 42 x 48cm (2018)

Parasol, oil on canvas, 42 x 48cm (2018)

Roadside Tavern (Moonlight ) , oil on canvas, 40 x 46 cm (2018)

Roadside Tavern (Moonlight ) , oil on canvas, 40 x 46 cm (2018)

The Need to Coexist, oil on canvas , 40x 46 cm ,(2018)

The Need to Coexist, oil on canvas , 40x 46 cm ,(2018)

Bird Swarm , oil on canvas, 40 x 46 cm (2019)

Bird Swarm , oil on canvas, 40 x 46 cm (2019)

Flatlands, oil on canvas, 46 x 40cm (2019)

Flatlands, oil on canvas, 46 x 40cm (2019)

The Moon and Two Trees, oil on paper, 30 x 42 cm (2019)

The Moon and Two Trees, oil on paper, 30 x 42 cm (2019)

Emily Royer

Favourite woman artist and why/how has she/her art or life inspired you? 

I don’t have one favorite but a few that I think about a lot: Kiki Smith, Mamma Andersson, Rosalyn Drexler, Alice Neel. Kiki Smith’s sculptures from the 90’s made an early impression on me because they are so raw and open about aspects of being human that we try to hide, of living in a fleshy body that excretes, and leaks, and decays. I saw Kiki Smith speak once, she was inspiring and also seemed very nice and relatable. It was really great to hear this person, whose work you learned about in art history books, and be able to imagine being friends with her. The first time I saw Mamma Andersson’s work I felt crushed. Her work, the feelings it imbued, accomplished everything I was striving towards. I got over it of course, but it was this feeling of-  “This work is so good, I shouldn’t even bother painting any more”. Rosalyn Drexler and Alice Neel are very different painters, and I wouldn’t say that I paint like either of them, but every time I go back to their work I find I learn something new. 

  

When did you first discover art? and when did you realise that you wanted to pursue it professionally? 

As far back as I can remember I’ve loved making things, drawing and painting are my focus now, but when I was young I did a lot of crafting as well, like stamping, making bracelets, sculpey figures and so on. I remember in high school, sitting in class and being absolutely mesmerized by a poster on the wall of the Toulouse-Lautrec painting “At the Moulin Rouge.”  There was a feeling of being transported to another life, of looking through another’s eye, all while sitting in some banal classroom. It was something that felt powerful and magical, and I felt that I wanted to be a maker in the same way. Still, I don’t think I realized until a bit later that I could actually go to college to study art. When I did see that it was a possibility, I already knew that was what I wanted to pursue. 

 

Can you tell me a bit about you/your background? (egwhere are you from/based? What has your educational path been like or are you self-taught?) 

I am American. I grew up in New Jersey, and attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where I studied Illustration. I chose that concentration because I felt it was the best path to a good technical education, but found that my primary interest was not illustration per se. I sometimes do album artwork for bands, which I really enjoy, but for the most part I wanted the content  of my work to be self-directed, rather than initiated by clients, as it is in most illustration. After finishing college I continued to make work but never pursued a career as an illustrator. For a number of years I worked at an art center for adults with developmental disabilities. There, I worked with some really amazing artists. Most did not feel self-conscious about what they were making or how it would be perceived by others. There was no sense of “trying,” just a devotion to making and a joy in being creative, I really admired their attitude and try to bring more of that into my own mindset. I still live in Philadelphia. There is a great art community here, and it is probably the most affordable big city on the east coast of the states. Here, I have been able to maintain a studio and pursue my art while working mostly part - time and freelance jobs.

 

 

What themes or ideas do you explore in your work? 

In a very broad sense my work is about the experience of being human. I think a lot about the dynamics of relationships, the difficulty of communication, the tensions between our inner and outer lives, and the role memory plays in our understanding of ourselves and our experiences. Our feelings and experiences are intangible and transitory, so in creating these paintings I am trying to capture and visually represent those feelings that make up our lived experiences yet evade the eye.

What is your process like? (Do you do a lot of research? Do you favour an intuitive approach? Do you do a lot of preparatory studies? Do you use photography/digital media? Do you concentrate on just one piece or do you work on several at the same time? How long do you spend working on each piece?) 

I often work from photo references. My process today more or less has its origins in a series of drawings I made 13 or 14 years ago, based on family photos that my mother found at my grandparents home. Up until that point, I hadn’t seen many images of my family as younger people. It was interesting to see these family members in such a different light, to imagine how their lives, and personalities, and relationship dynamics had changed before I even existed. I drew from the figures in the photos but reimagined them in other settings. From there, I began culling imagery from both photos that I found in thrift shops or the internet, as well as old photos of my own family. Recently though, I have felt less compelled to seek out these types of images, and more interested in what is around me in the present, using my own life and memory as  source material. I still use photo references but now they are often people or things that catch my eye and I snap on my phone. I am constantly collecting imagery and frequently go back through my piles and files of images. Through that process the image that is right for that moment will find its way to me.

I will make some sketches before beginning a larger painting but I won’t get too detailed because I find that scale changes things a lot. I will draw the basic composition on the canvas in graphite or pastel and start the painting when I am satisfied with the drawing. Sometimes a painting will take a more or less direct route from start to finish, but sometimes it will go through many changes and unforeseen directions before its completion. I find that it is important to let a painting rest so that I can really see it. I tend to work on 3- 4 pieces at once, having more than one painting going at a time lets me take a break from an image while continuing to work. Also, sometimes the answer to a problem with one painting can be found in another. 

Could you name a book you would recommend to every artist? (Not necessarily art-related)And why?

Not Knowing -  the Essays and Interviews of Donald Barthelme, or perhaps my recommendation is specifically for the title essay. Much of this book is about the experience of writing but it is applicable to any creative activity.  In the title essay, Barthelme beautifully and humorously writes about making art as a process that begins with not-knowingwhere the mind will go, and creating a story to find out. “Art is a true account of the activity of mind” he says, this is a quote that I find inspiring and reassuring in some strange way. 

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Alexandra Darbyshire


Favourite woman artist and why/how has she/her art or life inspired you?

Alisson Schulnik is pretty amazing. She's fearless with impasto oil, her colour mixing and placement is inspiring and her subjects captivating. Alisson's 3D animation videos commissioned by/for the band Grizzly Bear are so imaginative. I look at her work and feel nothing can stop her fierce creative drive.


When did you first discover art? and when did you realise that you wanted to pursue it professionally?

It's tough to say when I first discovered art because I was always painting even as a small kid. Discovering artists' work, well, I suppose I started taking notice around the age of 12 which was also when I started taking serious extracurricular painting classes with instructors outside of school. From the age of 12 my interest built momentum, and then one day when I was 15 I remember deciding, knowing, saying out loud, that I was going to become a painter. It was pretty liberating, especially because it was the age where my high school began putting the pressure on students to sort out what college programs to apply for later on in year 12. I feel lucky that I knew so young. 

Can you tell me a bit about you/your background? (eg where are you from/based? What has your educational path been like or are you self-taught?)

 I am Canadian, now based in the capital city of Ottawa, and I grew up on the East coast of this huge country. I studied fine art at OCAD University (Toronto), and spent a year at OCAD's Florence campus studying Renaissance art. I also studied for a year at the National Academy School of Fine Art in NYC, and most recently I completed the correspondence course with Turps Art School in London. Having said all that, I look back and feel I taught myself a lot of what I know painting wise. School was more of a time-out for me to lay it out and play it out in my head, in a workspace void of all the stressors and distractions of the big bad world outside.


What themes or ideas do you explore in your work?

My current painting series “It Fell From Earth” springs from fragments of the world we inhabit, bringing together a collection of small encrusted and gloopy oil paintings, and collage work assembled from torn and painted pieces of paper, sometimes stitched or taped together. The work is presented as a conversation around the unknown, while vaguely referencing the things that surround us. Some artworks could be interpreted as microscopic/biomorphic phenomena, or outer space life forms from another planet, another cosmic dimension, or dreamscapes. The imagery ends up hovering somewhere between reality and painterly fantasy, organic life and dystopian form. In turn, I aim to allow the viewer to ponder all these worlds and atmospheres through my work in a way where the point of origin isn’t clear.

Describe your process!

Recently I have chosen to just walk into the studio and engage in unresearched free fall to see what happens - I'm going with my gut and it is purely in the moment. I used to spend ages researching and making photo-collage paint studies which I would use to create a much larger version of as a finished painting. Not having a blue print to call upon and live up to has been tough at times but it can be rewarding all the same. I usually work on about 10 to 12 pieces all at the same time, but only 2 or three are up on the wall at at once while the others are put aside to dry and to let my eyes and mind rest - that way I can deal with them with a clearer idea of where I should take them next once they've had a chance to dry. Some can take a few weeks to come together and others can take months, but none of them are worked on every day during those time frames.


What have been your influences? (Anything in history? A particular work of art? Other artists? Landscape? Movies? Family/friends?  Literature?)

I think that the history of painting, travel, films and television have all shaped a great deal of the way I approach my ideas, compositions and colours. To me they have been fully immersive experiences when they captivate my imagination. I cannot say that there is one tour de force artwork or film that I look to, but it's the accumulation of constantly engaging with these art forms over my lifetime which inspires me to create a spark of my own.


Could you name a book you would recommend to every artist? (Not necessarily art-related)
And why?


"Girlfriend in a Coma" by Douglas Coupland - it's a visually descriptive novel of well observed reality and nostalgia rolled together with sci fi, dystopia, and the fighting human spirit.


Do you have any advice for other artists? Particularly students/emerging?

Just keep making a lot of work, and keep at it, even when it’s not working and you feel like you are dragging yourself through a trench of futility. You will gain higher ground eventually if art truly is what you want to do as a life choice.

Far from summer. Oil, marble dust and wax on canvas , 12 x 6 cm.

Far from summer. Oil, marble dust and wax on canvas , 12 x 6 cm.

Pattern Fatigue III. Oil, marble dust and wax on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

Pattern Fatigue III. Oil, marble dust and wax on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

Love Duster. Acrylic, oil and wax on paper stitched together with cotton thread, 83 x 53 cm.

Love Duster. Acrylic, oil and wax on paper stitched together with cotton thread, 83 x 53 cm.

Detail shot of “Love Duster”.

Detail shot of “Love Duster”.

Voodoo Child. Oil and marble dust on canvas, 9.5 x 5.5 cm.

Voodoo Child. Oil and marble dust on canvas, 9.5 x 5.5 cm.

Cold Drive, oil and wax on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

Cold Drive, oil and wax on canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

Pattern Fatigue IV. Paper, acrylic, oil, marble dust and wax with cotton thread stitching and masking tape, 164 x 140 cm. 2016.

Pattern Fatigue IV. Paper, acrylic, oil, marble dust and wax with cotton thread stitching and masking tape, 164 x 140 cm. 2016.

Paige Perkins

Favourite woman artist and why/how has she/her art or life inspired you? 

 

There are so many wonderful female painters, many of them my contemporaries, that it’s impossible for me to name a favourite. Anyway I was a dancer before I became a painter, so one of the most enduring female artists for me is the dancer/choreographer, Pina Bausch (d.2009) Her work looms large in my psyche: it’s dreamlike, uncanny, seductive, visceral, tender and cruel, humorous, surreal and absurd. The adjectives can give a sense of the style, but the only way to really appreciate it is to experience a performance by her company, Tanztheater Wuppertal. The pieces are full of surprising juxtapositions like a stage covered with soil or water, or flowers…an unusual mix of performers, old and young, some not even dancers but each with singular character.Unexpectedly, the performers will sometimes speak or sing fragments of song, which was unheard of before Pina Bausch pioneered a new mode of expression that she called Dance Theater. She was a radical and innovative choreographer who stuck to her vision even in the early days when audiences were booing her off the stage. Sometimes the scenes on stage might appear chaotic, yet somehow the works convey their own inner logic. I love the utter strangeness of it and not understanding on a rational level, but feeling something true inside. This might not be unusual now in contemporary dance, but in the early 1980’s it was astonishing to me. Pina Bausch had a deeply intuitive working method that began with a broad idea but no plan. Instead she asked her dancers loads of questions about their feelings and things connected with whatever the broad idea was, and then collaged ideas together as she went along. I also work without a plan, trying to distill something out of chaos. 

 

 

Women globally are far less represented in galleries and museums than their male counterparts. Have you yourself found the art world difficult to navigate as a woman or have you come up against any particular obstacles and how did you deal with them? Do you support all-women shows etc..? Why/why not? Have you noticed any changes?

 

 

I have found the art world to be confounding and frustrating at times, although that could be true for anyone. The obstacles such as less representation in museums and galleries that you mentioned really do exist for women, despite higher numbers of females coming out of art schools. It’s insane really, and I think it’s even deeper and more nuanced, because women have internalized the gender disparity for so long that we often aren’t even aware when it’s happening. I have occasionally gotten a sense of a ‘boys network’ around some guys with bravado and a ‘clubby’ feeling among certain male artists that makes me as a female artist feel shut out. It’s not a nice feeling and makes me feel uncomfortably ‘less than’. Things are certainly improving now, and I’m a fan of all-women shows and initiatives. I’ve benefited from these, and was recently in an all-women show with New Art Projects at the London Art Fair. I’m also a member of a brand new international female art group called Lala Collective, and of course I’m talking about this right now thanks to Crow of Minerva! I believe positive discrimination is necessary to redress the balance so that a deep and lasting shift in human consciousness can take place.

 

 

 

When did you first discover art? and when did you realisethat you wanted to pursue it professionally?

 

  My first memory of art was sitting on my grandmother’s lap and she drew a picture of a witch for me. It was like magic and I loved it. I did art classes off and on during school years but I was more into dance and had dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer. In reality I’d started too late and was not very musical, so I switched from dance to painting at my liberal arts college, but it didn’t occur to me then that I could pursue a career as a professional artist– I thought it was what other people did! I remember feeling like I didn’t have much to say after college and didn’t really know what to do with it at that time. Besides I was living in Manhattan in the early 1980’s and was more interested in the nightlife and Studio 54 than anyart studio. It was ten years later, once I’d become a mother that I had a lightening bolt moment when I decided all at once that I was going to be an artist, no matter what. It was weird actually, but it was a very strong feeling. I stayed up most of that night drawing a self -portrait. It seems that once I’d become a mother I found plenty to say, and was connected to feelings that I’d previously avoided through drugs, alcohol and fast living in New York. Once I’d married and was living in the English countryside, I had some help with the childcare that allowed me some time for art even when my kids were very young. Now they’re all grown and I’m a professional artist. I feel very lucky.

 

 

 

What themes or ideas do you explore in your work? 

I’m looking for enchantment and mystery in my work, maybe some lost childhood wonder, so I explore aspects of the Carnivalesque, where ‘normal’ life is upended and the borders between fantasy and reality, animal and human dissolve and absurdity rules. I’m fascinated by the ‘otherness’ of creatures and our relationship with them. We must have a relationship with them. Enchantment and unseen horror, the beautiful and the grotesque also figure in my work, I believe all things in nature have spirit, which makes me an animist I think, anyway I’m interested in magic and energy and pagan beliefs and lore, myths, folk stories and fairy tales.  

 

 

 

What is your process like? (Do you do a lot of research? Do you favour an intuitive approach? Do you do a lot of preparatory studies? Do you use photography/digital media? Do you concentrate on just one piece or do you work on several at the same time? How long do you spend working on each piece?)

 

I’m very disorganized, I can’t/won’t make clear plans or outlines but I get by in my own way.

Intuition is hugely important for me, it’s strong and I’ve learned to trust it. When I start a painting or drawing I don’t really have an idea of what I’m going to do and if I do it always changes along the way. I work in a low tech, ad hoc way and the only photography involved are the phone snapshots of the work as it progresses. I don’t have a hierarchy of materials, I paint and draw on cardboard, found objects, bits of scrap wood and stretched as well raw, loose canvas. The mix of materials is important to me and I like to play around with combinations of works in various forms. In my studio there ‘s one wall covered with scrappy drawings and sketches, sometimes they will feed into paintings but not directly. I don’t usually make preparatory sketches – too organized! but sometimes I’ll make rough sketches in order to work something out while I’m painting.Everything changes and morphs along the way, the thing is to know when to stop. As any painter knows it’s very easy to get carried away and kill a painting, I’m ace at that. I’m very messy when I’m working but the chaos is important to me, it allows for openness and possibilities. Intuition also guides my research, which is free-range: reading, watching, looking, listening to whatever draws my attention until I become aware of a thread or vein of possibility and I begin to make connections. I don’t really know how I do anything and each time I begin something new it feels strange. I’ve gotten used to that now so I just go ahead anyway and see what happens. It’s great to be surprised, I’d probably get bored if I thought I knew what I was doing.

 

 

What have been your influences? (Anything in history? A particular work of art? Other artists? Landscape? Movies? Family/friends?  Literature

I’m a cultural magpie, taking influences from a broad range of things. Some artists delve deep into a particular subject, but I have a short attention span and I just need enough to spark my imagination. Landscape is important to me indirectly and loosely through memory and imagination, a kind of personal psycho-geography. Sometimes a memory of a place will come up, Texas for instance, where I lived as young child, and will lead to imaginings of the American southwest, or New Orleans, where my mother and grandmother lived in genteel poverty for a time before I was born. The stories of their lives could’ve been written by Tennessee Williams and probably fuelled my love of Southern Gothic literature in general. So landscape becomes dreamscape for me, and it’s based on a personal or ancestral connection. The first artwork that made a big impression on me was a framed print of the Annunciation by Fra Angelico that hung in my parents’ house. I was captivated by it, the tiny flowers in the garden, the strange and colourful wings of the Angel, the golden ray of light with the dove floating in it … It was magical, and eventually it led me to study early Renaissance art in Florence for a summer. I listen to the radio a lot, and I like contemporary poetry, especially female poets like Sylvia Plath and Dorothy Molloy, to name just a couple, for their rawness and ferocity and startling imagery. I like the writing of Flannery O’Connor for the same reasons. I love Angela’s Carter’s books and short stories and I‘m into fairy tales, folk culture, and outsider art. I like melodrama in films and gothic fiction because it’s ridiculous and I’m attracted to the absurd. David Lynch is hugely important to me, especially the film Blue Velvet, with the best opening scene ever! EdvardMunch is one of my favourite painters and always will be. I like Japanese surreal literature for its strangeness. I‘m attracted by the European Romantic period, and the sensual relationship with Nature during that time. I’m drawn to the romantic myths around music and the personal lives of Robert Schumann and Gustav Mahler, both of whose wives, Clara and Alma, were also talented composers but their careers were stifled by the chauvinism of the period. When I’m working I can’t listen to classical music because it’s demanding, but I can listen to minimalist music like John Adams and lots of Southern blues and rock. It’s important to connect to nature but I need to live and work in the city where you can absorb culture almost through osmosis, even by the advertisements in the tube. It’s a rich mix. 

 

 

Could you name a book you would recommend to every artist? (Not necessarily art-related)

And why?

 

I wish I could think of something more original, but I’m going to cop out and recommend an art related self-help book. It’s called, The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. I would definitelyrecommend it to every artist, whatever stage you’re at. It’s full of interesting stories about the working methods of many well-known creatives, as well as wisdom garnered by Twyla Tharp from her long career in contemporary dance. It’s always inspiring, you can dip into it randomly and usually find something appropriate for whatever problem you might be grappling with at the time. It doesn’t matter what kind of artist you are, there really is something for everyone in this book.

 

 

 

Do you have any advice for other artists? Particularly students/emerging? 

 

I wish you the blessing of a deep and genuine interest in your own practice to sustain you through the vagaries of the fast-moving and fickle art world. Being an artist is a lifelong, slow burning occupation, so we need to be able to withstand the passing trends and weather the rejections until the tide might shift in our direction for awhile or maybe longer. If you’re truly into what you’re doing, all the rest doesn’t matter.

 

 

Do you have any exhibitions coming up? Where/when? 

I’m in a group show ‘Repurpose/ Reverse’ at Studio1.1 Gallery

February 8 – March 3, 2019

 Shoreditch, London, E2 7DJ

http://www.studio1-1.co.uk

In March, ‘Everything’s Wrong, Ain’t Nothing Right’ with Jonathan Lux, Sophie Mackfall, Rae Hicks and Katheryn Maple at the Assembly House Galllery, Leeds, LS12 2PL

March 20th thru April 3rd, 2019

https://www.assemblyhouse.art

 

On 28th March I’m having a very brief solo show called ‘Zebra Kitten’ - for one night only!

6 – 9 PM at LUVA Gallery

LOCK UP VISUAL ART – a pop up gallery dedicated to exhibiting diverse contemporary UK artists

Behind James Campbell House, E2 9QE London 

 

https://www.facebook.com/LUVAgallery/

 

Instagram: luva_gallery

Hestia, oil and acrylic on canvas, 102 x 87 cm. 2018

Hestia, oil and acrylic on canvas, 102 x 87 cm. 2018

Good Morning Sunshine, oil and acrylic on canvas, 170 x 120 cm. 2015 - 2018.

Good Morning Sunshine, oil and acrylic on canvas, 170 x 120 cm. 2015 - 2018.

Twilight Zone. Oil, acrylic, wax crayon on canvas. 170 x 120 cm. 2017 - 2018.

Twilight Zone. Oil, acrylic, wax crayon on canvas. 170 x 120 cm. 2017 - 2018.

Lightening Bugs at the Rodeo. Oil on canvas. 170 x 140 cm. 2016 - 2017.

Lightening Bugs at the Rodeo. Oil on canvas. 170 x 140 cm. 2016 - 2017.

Hinterland. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 87 x 102 cm. 2018.

Hinterland. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 87 x 102 cm. 2018.

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Liz Doyle

Liz Doyle lives and works in Donegal in the far North West of Ireland. 

Her work is expressive and often experimental, with her latest works becoming increasingly abstract. Taking her main inspiration from a long line of artists through history who have spent their time pushing the boundaries of what it means to paint. These include Goya, Turner, Cezanne, Picasso, Frankenthaler, both De Koonings, Mitchell, Pollock and Krasner, Diebenkorn and Motherwell.

Liz has had an exciting year in 2018 with the selection of a piece (through Instagram!) for a group show at Mark Borghi Fine Art, in Manhattan NY, which in turn led to the invitation to a solo show in their Bridgehampton, Long Island, NY gallery in October, and then the request for more work for their Palm Beach, Florida gallery. She is now represented exclusively by MBFA in the USA.

She has a solo show coming up in the summer at Green Fuse in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland and is actively looking for other galleries in the UK and Europe, particularly London, Berlin and Barcelona


e. liz-doyle@live.com

Instagram @lizdoyleartist

web. www.donegallizdoyle.com

USA. www.borghi.org

‘Do you have a map #1’, 70 x 70 cm, oil and cold wax on board.

‘Do you have a map #1’, 70 x 70 cm, oil and cold wax on board.

‘You can be as rude as you like #1’, 100 x 80 cm, oil and cold wax on canvas.

‘You can be as rude as you like #1’, 100 x 80 cm, oil and cold wax on canvas.

Untitled diptych, 80 x 160 cm. Oil and cold wax on canvas.

Untitled diptych, 80 x 160 cm. Oil and cold wax on canvas.

6 ‘poured paint’ pieces on board and canvas on the drying wall of Liz’s studio. All 6 are now at Mark Borghi Fine Art in Palm Beach, Florida.

6 ‘poured paint’ pieces on board and canvas on the drying wall of Liz’s studio. All 6 are now at Mark Borghi Fine Art in Palm Beach, Florida.

Face off, 100 x 250 cm approx. on unstretched linen, oil and cold wax.

Face off, 100 x 250 cm approx. on unstretched linen, oil and cold wax.

Mary Tooley Parker

 

Favourite woman artist and why/how has she/her art or life inspired you? 

My favorite woman artist is Loretta Pettway, one of the quilters from Gee's Bend, Alabama, in the deep south of the United States. Hers is not a household name, though her works were recently featured at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Her quilts are astoundingly powerful and unique, and her use of color and abstract shape is striking. Her work rose out of practicality and necessity, assembling cast-off clothing and materials into quilts to keep her family warm. But she, like other women of the Gee's Bend quilting community, had the ability to transform this utilitarian craft by imbuing these functional pieces with spirit, individuality, and deep beauty.

 

 

Women globally are far less represented in galleries and museums than their male counterparts. Have you yourself found the art world difficult to navigate as a woman or have you come up against any particular obstacles and how did you deal with them? Do you support all-women shows etc..? Why/why not? Have you noticed any changes?

 Since I only started showing my work in 2012, I've really only been involved with the “art world”for a few years. I have often felt supported by other women artists, both on social media and irl, but I  haven't personally run up against any male-generated obstacles that I am aware of. I have,however, noticed a marked prevalency of bias against textile arts in the art world—I believe because of its being associated with “women's work.” This elitist misogyny seems to be softening, especially in New York City.

 

 

When did you first discover art and decide you wanted to pursue it as a career?

To me ART is a broad term and I don't think of it primarily as visual art. I've been involved with the arts for a long time, though I never thought of myself as an artist until recently. I studied classical piano for 9 years as a child, was a modern dancer in NYC after high school, worked in the art departments of Vanity Fair and GQ magazines, and then got into fiber arts, especially rug hooking. After I started showing my hooked textiles locally, I was encouraged to pursue art professionally in 2015. Receiving a Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts played a key role in that decision. It was very validating and gave me more confidence that what I was doing resonated with others.

 

 

 

 

Tell me a bit about your background!

I grew up in Westchester County, New York, about ½ hour north of NYC. After high school I lived in New York City for 20 years, pursuing a career in dance, and then in publishing at Condé Nast.Then I left the city and moved to a more rural environment farther north. At that point, with a house and child, I was able to more seriously dive into fiber arts of all kinds. I took up quilting spinning, weaving, dyeing, and rug hooking. I started out hooking with a local group and quickly realized this milieu really suited me, and I came to focus on it because of the tremendous joy it brought me. I  learned more and more through extensive reading, online research, and going to big hooked rug shows. I have done a lot of experimenting with design, texture, materials, color, and historic rug-making techniques during the past 16 years of working in this medium. For this reason, I consider myself mostly self-taught.

 

 

What subjects/subject matters do you explore in your work? 

My work is mostly very personal, drawing from my family, my memories, local history, and my immediate environment inside and outside. I hope to show the viewer things they may not look at or think about in their daily lives.

 

 

Describe your process! What’s a day in the studio like for you?

 As mentioned above, I have done a lot of research on rug hooking and its origins, as well as other 19th century  rug making methods. I studied the designs and construction methods of primitive rugs made from used clothing cut up and pulled through a burlap feed sack foundation made to keep floors warm; works of beauty created by untrained women artists. I also studied dyeing so that I can create colors as needed in my work. This learning included color theory, various dyeing techniques that achieve different results, and the contrasts between synthetic dyes and natural dyes.

I favor an intuitive approach always. I can only work on a piece that gives me a buzz of excitement when I think about it. I usually start with a sketch and then enlarge it, either on the computer or using a grid. I only work on one piece at a time, though I always have a bunch of other projects going on too, like knitting, spinning, basket weaving, that I turn to for different moods or locations. My smaller hooked pieces can take about a week, larger ones a month or more, depending if I want to spin some yarn to use, or need to dye certain colors, or if there are other additional activities involved in its creation.

 

 

What have been your influences?

I am mostly influenced by early primitive rug images and other “folk art.” I love the simplicity and unabashed honesty of these pieces created for purely personal expression and satisfaction. I'm also often inspired and motivated by artists I follow on Instagram. I think it’s really wonderful to be able to see so many contemporary artists working in real time, and I've found a very supportive community there. This is especially important when living in a rural area instead of a metropolitan area.

 

 

 

Could you name a book you would recommend to every artist?

I recommend the book “American Hooked and Sewn Rugs—Folk Art Underfoot” by Joel and Kate Kopp to anyone interested in folk art or the history of textile art. It is a fabulous compilation of images and information about this early American art form, written by two well-respected antique dealers in New York City. The work featured within is extraordinary when you consider the lives the makers led and all the other work they were required to do to survive. Also you will note that much of the work is surprisingly contemporary in feeling.

 

Do you have any advice for other emerging artists?

I know there is a lot of advice out there about how to be a “successful” artist, with tips on how to achieve that. My advice is to turn that on its head. Do what excites you, motivates you, andmakes you feel something. Keep doing that and following what you truly love and it will take you to where you need to be. You may not be a “successful” artist, but you will be a successful ARTIST.

  

Do you have any exhibitions coming up? Where/when? 

I am currently exhibiting at the Silvermine Guild galleries in New Canaan, Connecticut, throughFebruary 6. I will have work in the Small Works show at Five Points Gallery, also in Connecticut,from February 1-23. And I will have a solo show at Viridian Artists Gallery in Chelsea, NYC, from May 21 to June 15, 2019.

See more of Mary Tooley Parker’s work at www.marytooleyparker.com and follow her on Instagram @m.tooley.parker !!

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