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.