“The pieces are a manifestation of a distillation process, so it’s what comes out at the reductive end of process that might be about a subject matter. These pieces are about presence and absence really and they refer to my work as an ecologist the elusiveness of finding of and confirmation of protected and rare species and the difficulties with that. The cutting work is part of the drawing and the drawn element is the grid and the grid contains the cuts. Before there were no borders; the cutting was an outpouring. The drawing now is quite minimalist and spare. It’s quite hard work to do and probably hard work for the viewer. For experimentation there has to be parameters but in theory things are very open-ended, for example with astronomy and the questions around that are very open, it’s just the nature of it. Before I did the MA I did a post grad in Art and Science at Central St. Martins and I think I needed to move towards a reduced, distilled, the purest form that I can see and feel about the subject. They are driven by that now, not about seeing a figure or a landscape and draw it.
Drawing, drawing, drawing, drawing, from life, in a very conventional way. Doing the MA turned that upside down really; drawing is the end bit, the final part of a very long process. It’s like doing yoga it’s quite restorative. I’m not very aware of my surroundings because I am focused on what I am doing. There are times when I think about what led to this or there are times when I am listening to the cut of paper but I’m not really aware of what going on around me.
It’s interesting that you say that because during the MA I thought I would sit with science because that’s my background but I also wanted to push myself. I am afraid of blood but I wanted to do some work shadowing with surgeons. I had the great opportunity to sit in on facial reconstruction surgery. As I watched in amazement as they worked so precisely and thought about the stakes; a wrong move could severe a nerve cause untold damage. I also realised I had never held a scalpel and I wanted to know what it would feel like to hold a scalpel and to use it on paper. And when I did there was this outpouring of cutting.
It’s maybe hard to see but each mark is a definite indelible mark has been made. Back in April/May I found out and I have been thinking about making this work anyway. I only just finished the process a few days before the show.
There are plans to do more in this series and also plans to do work that is completely different from this. I wanted to come out of the MA with a practice because I didn’t have one before, and I have done this.
I started off at St Martin’s in London and then transferred to AUB they were great about that and I got what I wanted out of it.
Well I have a very busy job in Ecology it demands a lot of time. For me leaving AUB, I mean within seconds your email account is closed down so you can’t even send a thank you email. Not having that supervisor, I was very lucky with mine and they had a huge influence on my practice. Also the peer support, it feels like a wrench and you’re in a black hole. I think that’s maybe why I got involved in Project V because we’ve all been through the same experience. When you go back to working alone you have no idea about whether what you are doing is good, that’s quite tough. Nobody’s saying well that’s not bad, and giving your encouragement.
There are lots of things I never knew about, not coming from and arts background. Alone I can raise the animal but then how to bring it to market? So being in the group there are a wider range of skills and other people know about funding or projects or ways in that I wouldn’t know about so it’s very important for me.”