Artist Statement

I am an artist whose main impulse is towards representational painting, but with a strong interest in printmaking, photography and film as well.

I love working with oil paints for the feel, flexibility and aesthetic quality. It is pleasing to consider that a medium that has been in existence for over a thousand years can still be used by artists to make work that is unmistakably contemporary. I tend to work with strong colours and expressive methods of applying paint, often with a palette knife. Thicker layers can take a long time to dry so paintings can often take a year or more to complete.

Subject matter is important to me and I like to look at interesting, out of the ordinary or dramatic themes. Although the aesthetic result is equally important to me I am usually more satisfied with my own work when I feel it is also about something interesting.

A significant theme for me has been a long (and ongoing) series of paintings relating to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and its abandoned city, Pripyat. I visited the exclusion zone in 2009, partly as a foundation for creating new work. I try to convey the sense of this huge, radioactive, Soviet ghost town as a place of strange beauty, decay and threat. I find compelling the idea of a danger (radiation) that is completely undetectable to our natural senses and the slow and inevitable progress of nature reclaiming the buildings.

I am also interested in portraiture, often as a starting point for abstraction. I am drawn, like everyone, to an interest in the human face which we are hard wired to recognise easily. I find it interesting to portray features in painterly abstractions, knowing that we will still look for and find the subject.

Other recent subjects of interest include work arising from a tour of a former Stasi prison complex in Berlin, explorations of housing projects in Kiev; also the idea of underwater/drowning as a poetic image.

I can find inspiration in many kinds of art, from Classical to Neo-Expressionism to contemporary installations, photography, sculpture and film.