There is an overriding interest in the creative tension between content and structure in my work. I do think in terms of narratives and themes to each series of paintings but the actual process of making is also the key idea. There is as much obliteration and erasure in the development of the paintings as construction, there is a lot of improvisation and structures are tested as much as composed. My paintings can go through radical transformations in the making.
The stories in Ovid’s metamorphosis are a recurrent source and sometimes just incidental moments from my memory can get reworked into narratives. Scale is important, epic themes colliding with the trivial or commonplace.
In Fortune and Folly, a solo show in 2019, Velasquez ‘Spinners’ was a starting point for several paintings. The theme of painting and weaving was central, layers of paint building a tapestry-like surface connecting swipes, smears and tangles into shifting images and spaces. The narrative source focused on Arachne and Minerva to consider questions of creative ambition, the intoxicating forces of power and transformation and the contested relationship between art and craft. The paintings attempted to create a flickering vision of female artistry and industry.
Phaethon and festivals of Venus (Veneralia) are important themes in more recent work. In Ovid’s story of Phaethon, the impetuous son of Pheobus loses control of the horses and chariot of the sun creating chaos in the scorched and burning heavens and earth. Paintings by Rubens and the landscapes of Chuck Jones (Wiley Cayote and Roadrunner) have been instrumental for ideas of imagery, movement and theatricality. In ‘Changer of Hearts’ entangled marks suggest teeming appetites and sensuality, they play against inset visions of guilt and judgment as part of the ‘Veneralia’ series.