My work is primarily concerned with exploring notions of place and belonging and the evolving relationships between humans and our natural environment in both urban and rural environments. In a world saturated by instant imagery where everyone can find an image of anything or anywhere almost instantly, my work is a deliberate slowing down and seeking out of the parts of an environment that evoke a sense of place.
My most recent series of work is has stemmed from pandemic induced daily walks that evolved into a personal documentary of my relationship with my immediate environment. A major regeneration project has transformed abandoned land adjacent to the Forth and Clyde canal into a new wildlife corridor with improved public access including the construction of a multi-million pound pedestrian and cycle bridge.
There is a duality to my relationship with this place. Thought is it so close to my home; I often feel like am an outsider looking in and slowly finding my place within it. During the day, it feels safe, however it’s not a place I would wander alone in at night. Following the seasons with the changing of the birds, plants and trees brings me joy and solace. The planting of thousands of trees, also gives a sense of hope for the future as we try to cope with climate change. Little memorials to lost friends and family are poignant reminders of those who die too young; of lives that I will never know or fully understand.
I am fascinated by the intersections between people and nature in planned and re-wilded spaces. Using a range of techniques including painting, printing and photography, my work is an interpretation of these intersections. I find a sense of belonging when creating my version of this often overlooked landscape. I want to engage the viewer in a dialogue around where and what this place is.
My often process begins with walking, observing and recording through the camera in my phone. These images are then used as the basis for paintings, both representational and abstract. There is a digital mediation between reality and my work. I use a variety of “disposable” materials within some of my work including cardboard, bubble wrap and disposable face masks. I have used the latter to mono print and then deconstructed and collaged into work. I make eco-prints using foliage collected from the canal side, which I then create into vignettes of the canal by drawing over the shapes created by the leaves and flowers. The leaves seem to want me to share where they are from. Creating my interpretations of this often overlooked urban space, gives me a sense of belonging.
When I do escape the city, it is often to my childhood home on the west coast of Scotland. I have a different relationship with this place. At times I have an almost visceral need to paint the sea and clouds. There is also a place inside my head, beside a familiar yet not quite known sea-loch that also regularly finds its way into my work. These places still sit within the intersection of people, nature and the environment but manifest themselves in different ways.
I want my work to engage the viewer in a dialogue about where and what place is.