Recently, my work has undergone a seismic shift during Masters study at Salford University (2018 -2021) This has been sparked by the inheritance of my mother’s photos of the Greenham Common protest. The figures I was painting began to emerge and converge with the landscape in a state of flux and metamorphosis bridging the abstract and figurative. Painting is a portal or window into the imagination and expression of the artist. Having grown up in an environment of feminist protest: the body of work that I am currently creating reforges the expression, power, symbology and otherness inspired by the women’s protest movement of the twentieth century amidst the current upwelling of feminist protest. The deep symbolism and powerful colour vibrancy of the work speak for different protests and the expression of women’s spirit of interconnectedness over time.
Working with unstretched yet primed canvas. Using sponges, palette knives, bubble wrap and stencil brushes. I used washes of paint mixed with medium to keep the texture yet intensify the colour. I also left some of the underpainting visible and developed other parts.
I am working on Definitive Practice for the MA Contemporary Fine Art at Salford University. This is the final part of my Master’s degree which by the time I finish will have taken 3 years. I took a leave of absence through the several lockdowns of the last year as I am homeschooling my children as well as working as a teacher two days a week. This enabled me to slowly work with my final piece over a longer period of time punctuated by the rhythms of this new pandemic life. On the plus side I have a studio at home where I could set everything up, use the space whenever I could and leave everything out. On the negative side it has been a time interrupted and lengthened. This has been an organic process really as it’s been a case of adapt and survive.
My proposal for the final definitive practice is to explore the Ages of Woman through the triune lens of Maiden, Mother and Crone. Going right back to the start in a re-visioning, a contemporising yet referencing pre-Christian, pre-patriarchy, folkloric, mythological concepts and symbols both personal and universal. Facilitating an intuitive response and alchemical development, creating my own mythopoeic language.
Who are we? What are the Ages of Woman now and their deeper significance and links? When do our initiations through time and a sense of being occur? What are our significant phases of growth? Where do we perceive our evolving place in the world to be? How do we counter the lasting effects of Patriarchy and honour our process, retell our story? Can our changing role and state be mapped and connected with something more eternal and universal? How can these questions be explored and expressed through this work?
My final work has developed from creating a huge concept scroll of my practice on this MA. I traced my process to this point: I used elements of paint and print imbued and influenced by interconnectedness, perception, time, cycles, crows, feminism, philosophy, archetypes, dreams, symbolism, otherness and magical realism. I have come to a point where I am reviewing the bigger picture and re-visioning the life cycle or Ages of Woman.
This has stemmed from MA work on the concept of motherhood, grief, memory and experience and has broadened though tutor conversations to embark on a creative journey exploring the Ages of Woman. The lens has widened to not only include my own experience of this lifecycle and those around conversations with other women but to also consider epochs, art and movements such as the persecution of witches, the suffragettes, feminism, woman’s protest and #metoo. I aim to draw upon and reinterpret our rich heritage, memory and a personal archive of historical photographs from Greenham Common.
Here are some gestural beginnings stemming from releasing the canvas from the tyranny of the frame and working in the expanded field ( in my kitchen!)
Doing some armchair travelling as we are on lockdown, through some old photos and found this one from two years ago when I was at Glastonbury Tor just before a storm in the evening. The light changed dramatically and I took this photo.