This painting talks about the interconnectedness of our bodies and minds, and how feelings of happiness can be a result of intentional thinking. Using a metaphorical comparison of landscape and the body, this work looks at places of inhabitation, and invites the viewer into a psychological landscape. Just like a landscape is a place of inhabitation, so the human body is a place of inhabitation for the human psyche. Skin and bone is what we are made of, our reality, our confines, our physicality, our ‘vehicle’. This physicality gives framework to our inner workings and encapsulates our ‘wairua’ (Maori – indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand - concept of spirit and soul). Thinking thoughts of gratitude affects the brain at a biological level by producing dopamine and boosting serotonin. Accompanied by challenging negative thoughts and practicing telling yourself the truth, your mind can give you feelings of happiness as a biological result of living in a human body.
What inspired it? What is its conceptual background and tone? How do you want people to feel after viewing/reading it?
I’ve used references to the coastal landscape of the west coast of New Zealand, and in particular Whaingaroa, Raglan. I’d like people to get a sense of a wild and moody place, pulsating with life. I’d like them to enjoy and soak in the beauty, celebrate its sensitivity, and feel invited in to the work and the place of inhabitation it represents.
I want this work to expose the underneath, the innerworkings, the raw state of human psychology by drawing metaphorical connections to the landscape.
How do you define your art/writing in terms of style?
My practice extends ideas of translation of memory or experience, and connection to place, through abstraction in painting. My work values elements of abstraction and action painting through the sensatory qualities of paint and surface treatment, the process of making the work, and intuitive and loose paint handling. It also draws from elements of gestural abstraction, in particular the ‘whole body’ activity in applying and removing paint in a manner that tries to support the memory of an experience or thing. The work is formalist in the treatment of light and shadow and perspective elements.
What techniques and materials did you use for this piece/series?
The work uses inks, compressed pigment and acrylic paint on 300gsm Britannia card. The large scale is also an important aspect of the work, as I needed to engage my whole body to move across it, and use broad loose mark-making techniques. Of course I’m working up close, and so I’m moving in and out of proximity to the work. This limitation gives a sense of spontaneity and loose-ness that enables the work to almost do its own thing, a process that helps to let a certain level of intuition to surface.