I'm thrilled and a tiny bit freaked out to have been offered an AA2A place at Sunderland. I've been feeling that it's high time to home in on the most promising strands of my making over the last year, and to get out of my studio and learn from others.
I want to explore the imaginative potential of the tiny space by experimenting with the use of reverse-intaglio relief in glass, bringing in my existing use of photographic transfers, painting on glass and screen printing - such as in 'Ice Cream in Utopia' shown here. Ultimately I want to make miniature worlds that are set in a structure or context that enhances and plays with the scale of the work and how it is displayed.
Recent work explores the drama of small spaces and how they can have a huge imaginative potential – as if the more constrained the space, the greater the scope for expansion of the creative field. There’s nod to Utopias, and how they are patched together pictures of that we want and what we have, and how strange they look when they are taken to their bizarre conclusions. There’s an exploration of the fragment and how it can represent more than the whole of a story. There are landscapes that are made up of collages of real and imaginary places. And there’s the weirdness that comes when we mess with familiar objects or things. I find weirdness compelling – it can be amusing and it can be quite dark, but weird things feel close to us and at the same time very different.
Miniature reverse intaglio engraving on rock crystal was a craze in 19th Century – the images were often painted and to our modern eyes, quite bizarre. You can see one here. And some more on my blog.
The paints used were often oil paints rather than enamels, which gave an intense luminosity. I would like to explore this process and update it, or look at how to achieve something like it – perhaps using flexible drive engraving tools, but perhaps using relief casting. It is the animation of the subject that I’m after, as well as its peculiarity – the sense of capturing a likeness of something valued that cannot remotely live up to the real thing, but has a strange life of its own.