Artist Statement

My drawings are concerned with time, narrative and memory. When starting a new piece, I am not always conscious of what I want to say: the meaning emerges slowly while I work through many doubts and changes of direction. Exploring art historical references, ideas, chance associations and memories, I try to record the passing of time and capture a contemporary sense of anxiety, melancholy and uncertainty – both ancient and very modern.

In previous work, the idea of place was central. More recently, working in response to print and photographic archives, there has been a growing focus on storytelling. Found imagery becomes a setting for chance encounters between people, objects and places, a kind of visual poem where layers of distant and recent memories are separate but simultaneous.

The quiet stillness of Piero della Francesca, the humanity and everydayness of Giotto, Carpaccio, Fra Angelico and William Blake are influences. The poetic and narrative voice in the films of Tarkovsky, Kentridge and Glazer are important and the power of place, loss, and loneliness in work by Edward Hopper, Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer and WG Sebald.

While making the drawings, the paper surface of the original image might be covered with a single painted colour, to create a specific atmosphere or sense of time. Once dry it is repeatedly drawn into with conte and crayon, worked, re worked, scratched and rubbed out, at times becoming a back drop for themes of dispossession, dystopia, or mortality – at other times a stage set for the domestic and ordinary fragments of my life.

I am intrigued by relationship between drawing and photography and have recently been exploring photography as a springboard to other stories. Sometimes the photographs are found in archives, sometimes I use my own. There is a mystery, an alchemy in the idea of turning one image into another – related, distinct, but set apart with a new meaning.  While looking at photographs ideas are unlocked intuitively: a buried obsession, a meeting between the historical and political or a collision between past and the present. In some drawings traces of the original photograph remain, in others it almost disappears. The important thing is the effect it has had on the imagination, whether triggered by an incidental subjective detail (as in Roland Barthes’ Punctum) a powerful atmosphere, or by an association sparked from personal memory.