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
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.
This work is part of Peter Lanyon’s brief experimentation with impressing found materials onto a surface. These assemblages were heavily influenced by the artists interest in beach combing and possibly Kurt Schwitters who is known for creating collages from found materials.
In reference to this painting, Pasmore has said that “the landscape themes developed by means of a free construction of pure form elements, either the spiral line as in this case or the square as in the “Eclipse”’ (Tate Gallery) Pasmore used abstract forms in his paintings not because the artist was seeking to create abstract art but because he believed that the forms he used, such as spirals, have become shorthand for constructions perceived in nature. Pasmore made a series of paintings using this re-curing motif until the 1950s when he ultimately decided that it did not adequately express the concept of space. In a similar way I have been experimenting with using found forms as representative of shapes that appear in nature. Rather than create something theoretical, with abstraction and focus on form being the primary outcome, I have used the abstract shapes to express an observed landscape .