Each painting is made with a carefully constructed canvas and refined surface, then painted with technical precision to recreate a photographic image in oil paint. Led by a desire to fully engage with the physical material of paint and the durational experience of making paintings, the work aspires to the skilful, repetitive processes of the potter or carpenter.
Colour is eliminated and the tonal range limited to form a reduction of means, which together with dynamic compositions presents a veiled dramatic intensity. Sourced from publicly available photographs in books and websites of therapeutic manipulation or restraining techniques, the paintings are characterised by their demonstrations of physical force from one person to another. Close cropped images of peoples’ bodies are often used to commodify the body for advertising or promotional display, which presents difficulties for how people are viewed or understood as the fragmentation creates a remove from an ideal of the individual holistic body.
The paintings in Our Quick Surfaces have been made in response to having undertaken public anatomy classes involving examining fragmented human specimens. The physical cropping of bodies in this situation carefully anonymises the person and directs a focused area of study. While a connection to a whole person is lost, an intensity of the aesthetic subject is gained. This body of work has grown from research with the department of anatomy at Edinburgh University through a residency with Talbot Rice Gallery and a site specific performance at the Anatomical Museum for the Edinburgh Art Festival.
Bringing together visual art and performance making approaches are key concerns in his practice which surrounds the behaviours and agency of people as medicalised bodies. In making performances he aims to decode implicit institutional behaviours to discover potential in idiosyncratic actions. Current performance projects include Edges of Holding supported by a residency with Tramway, No One Grieves Alone with Inverclyde Culture Collective, and Plantar an audio walk for the seasonal gardens of the PPWHospice.