- Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your practice?
I trained as a painter, but have always used other media to feed my practice, especially printmaking and photography. For the past ten years I have also been making videos, initially to imitate my paintings and prints. These days though, my paintings and prints imitate my videos.
As those of you are familiar with my work already know (in particular the Rivesaltes project exploring France’s involvement in the Holocaust and the collaboration with Sonia Boué ‘Without You I Would Not Exist’), I am drawn to making work concerning memory and about places with a hidden history. But, simultaneously, I like the idea of creating beautiful images which shroud something darker, perhaps even sinister.
My current work is no exception as I explore, on one level, symmetry and pattern, but on another, the ideas of Hermann Rorschach and psychological disorders.
- What are you currently working on?
It’s great to have a lot on:
A few weeks ago I started a new series of prints for an exhibition in Grenoble (organised by the Oxford twinning association) with fellow MRS artist Madi Acharya-Baskerville, the founder of MRS Diana Bell and Brook & Black (Leora Brook & Tiffany Black). The prints are based on a video that will form the centrepiece of the installation. I print at Oxford Printmakers once a week, using their etching press for my impractically large relief prints.
One of my new videos exploring the Rorschach ink blot theme that I’m currently developing, will be shown at the Athens Digital Arts Festival in mid-May. I plan to go there, it will be inspiring to see the other work.
I've been working on a project called 'Mapping Space' with a really exciting digital/multimedia artist who’s moved here from the States; we are currently looking for a suitable venue to present the interactive installation soon.
I'm also about to begin a collaboration with a scientist in association with the Wellcome Trust. More details to follow!
- Do you have studio space elsewhere?
My studio is now in my garden, basically a log cabin - I’ve moved in, but still not quite finished painting it. Once I'd relocated form Oxford, travelling in was time wasted that I could have spent painting, so it made sense.I still miss my old studio in the Pyrenées which was a converted barn. It was an idyllic place to work with a huge picture window looking down the valley towards the Mediterranean, but sadly not a great place to practice as an artist.
- What are your other (work) commitments if any?
I regularly lead workshops and give tutorials in schools, colleges and adult education - recently I’ve helped A’ Level students prepare for their Art Foundation and degree applications.
I also give talks and lectures from time-to-time on art history and on my own work – at the weekend I gave a lecture about Goya and Batman in London for Pembroke College’s access programme to encourage bright students who don't get many breaks to apply to Russell Group universities.
I find working with students really inspirational, it's a real buzz and also helps keep my creative ideas fresh, so I try to accept whenever I'm asked.
My other passion is playing the guitar which I teach and I also give the odd gig from time-to-time. I'm available for weddings, christenings and bar mitzvahs!
- How does being an associate at Magdalen road support your work?
When I lived in France I felt quite isolated as an artist, so much so that I even created a residency programme and invited recent graduates from the UK to work alongside me. A lot of my interaction with other artists was also via the internet, so when I moved back to the UK, with my family, I chose to re-settle in Oxford so that I could easily meet like-minded artists in person.
Funnily enough, just before I returned from France, I took part in an exhibition curated by Iris Books in Scotland – an opportunity I saw advertised on AN – MRS artists Anabel Ralphs and Diana Jones-Parry also showed, small world.
Even though artists tend to hide themselves away, I feel that it is important for inspiration and development to be able to bounce ideas off others, to collaborate and to discuss artists of the moment and current shows, so I was pleased I could rent a space at MRS.
Now I live in Chipping Norton I don’t want to lose touch with the civilised world! So, being an associate at MRS is invaluable to my practice.
- What are you hoping to achieve over the next year?
I don't have a crazy, career bucket list! I just want to make strong work that is relevant; however, I do like to reinvent myself every now and again, searching for new means of expression, but the core always remains the same... so in that respect the future is always exciting.