I submitted five paintings into a public completion ran by Ardent Gallery in Brecon, out of which these two were chosen by the gallery to be displayed.
The statement I sent off about my artistic practice: “I am in my second year of studying Fine Art at Cardiff Metropolitan University. My current artistic practice seeks to convey the beauty and mystical qualities of contemporary industrial landscapes, inspired by Prunella Clough and the surreal landscapes of Paul Nash. Rather than beginning with a specific subject matter in mind, my working methods involve walking a route and making observations while on foot, I then work from these sketches I have made in the studio. I like to use a variety of materials, as a result the canvas becomes a collage of found materials and various mediums, tending to avoid paint as much as possible. Some of the paintings I have submitted are more representational, however I also enjoy emphasising the abstract qualities that naturally occur in the landscape. “
My current artistic practice seeks to convey the abstract qualities of contemporary landscape through paint and collage materials. Rather than beginning with a specific subject matter in mind, my working methods involve walking and making observations through sketching. The paintings have elements of the surreal similar to that of Paul Nash. The second strand of my work looks at the relation between traditional landscape painting and satellite imagery; the landscapes in the first triptych are depicted from an aerial viewpoint. I view my paintings both as part of the tradition of landscape painting and as functioning maps.
After the West Wharf exhibition I assessed what had been the successful aspects of my work and decided that I want to further develop the abstract elements in the paintings and continue using found forms. I used oil bars and soft pastel to create this painting of an elevated viewpoint of an industrial complex.
The other two slightly smaller paintings are of satellite images taken from a route I walked on the outskirts of Merthyr Tydfil. While the paintings are all of images taken from the internet, it is still important that I have visited the site before I use it as subject matter because I want these paintings to be perceived as part of the tradition of landscape painting. I am interested in abstract shapes occurring naturally in the landscape and how the viewer differentiates between a map and the landscape. Next year I would like to experiment with larger canvases, but at present I like the intimacy offered by the small scale of the paintings.
Paintings that have not developed from the 100 drawings would have instead developed from sketchbook work. I used my sketchbook on the walk from Nant-Ddu to Garwnant in Brecon to record abstract shapes. I also took sketches from the map on my phone of the area
Seeing Eileen Agar’s Surrealist sculpture at the Tate Britain inspired me to create my own response in clay and fabric. Agar stated that she wanted to create something that is “powerful…more malign.” Agar’s work can be seen as a statement about women’s place in male dominated surrealism and gender identity. The sculpture is modelled in plaster with found materials attached to the surface; the fabrics are decorative and also suggestive of facial features. The artist was inspired by the African Mask collection in the British Museum, London which she visited regularly with Henry Moore.
I think my clay mask could be developed further by introducing colour and a wider range of found materials, it feels decorative to paint colour over the top of the fabric so in this case I have left colour out. I would like any elements of colour to be within the found material already. I like the reflectiveness of the gloss paint because it is an unusual texture. The mask I have created is fairly androgynous when I set out to create something specifically feminine with the use of hand made textiles, which is traditionally associated with women.
I was inspired by Gillian Ayres works on paper which are on display at Cardiff Museum, her paintings are an abstract representation and emotional reaction to the landscape in Wales, especially the Llyn Peninsula. However these work on paper feel to me more like representations of a domestic space, such as a kitchen rather than landscapes. I am interested in her expressive use of abstract line and colour and also the simplicity of the composition, I also want to create paintings that are simultaneously abstract and representative of s landscape.