Hbos open studio, July 2016
My work was inspired by fairytale and myth, dreams and fantasies, autobiography and the cultural media using visual art, performance and lens-based media to create performed surreal visual images, film and video pieces. Some of my work was the creation of subversive pieces in which I confronted the viewer with familiar scenarios, yet turned them on their head, forcing us to re-evaluate our relationship with the everyday. The imagery can be both poignant and unsettling.
This multi-media art process has dealt with issues of domesticity and entrapment in the past and explored the space between fantasy and reality. Following in the tradition of women creating in their own homes I based much of my work in the home-space and in familiar local landscape. Themes explored included ‘overcoming the monster’, death, abuse, paedophilia and looked at iconic representations of women.
My practice spans photography, film and video, drawing and painting, installation, poetry and music and performance art. It has used self-representation to create new environments and identities including the use of a created alter-ego: ‘Wendy’, a housewife trapped in her own domestic environment who fantasies her way out of domestic drudgery by creating fantastical performed art pieces incorporating a variety of props and costumes.
Costume was very important to me; I collected costumes from charity shops and I sometimes made my own. I also used ‘the doll’ and body-parts to stand in for other people. I liked to create drama and tension and hope that my work speaks to viewers in a cathartic manner. In this work, humour is key.
I moved to West Yorkshire two years ago and my work here has been a response to the landscape and underlying issues around me. Although my degree is in Fine Art:painting, I have not been producing painting work since I studied on my MA in 1999-2001. I moved to have more time and head-space to be able to do this as living in the city of Manchester was too distracting. I have had the freedom to play, experiment and push my own personal boundaries here and the work I have produced is freer than any art I have made before.
Much of the work I have created has had an underlying issue; my town was flooded very badly last Winter and my practice has been exploring water and the force of nature in the form of waterfalls and landscape paintings and also by incorporating figures either swimming or flying over and in water.
I collect inspiration for these works by walking in the local landscape and sometimes use my phone or ipad to take pictures to work from, whilst at other times I paint straight from my head, working intuitively in both cases. I have been creating small A4 and A3 works by painting onto glass or Perspex and then hand-printing onto paper. I work with intense expressive colour and marks. This creates a series which I can alter with each pressing.
About me and my practice
My studio in Beehive Mill, Hebden Bridge