Until March 2020 I split my time between London and Wexford. On my return home to Wexford, I decided that I would treat the time gained by the lockdown as an artist's residency, now that I had the space and time to do so. With very little money to invest in materials, I had to become very resourceful and use what I had in my studio. As I left London without all of my paints and other materials (I thought I'd only be home for a few weeks) I had to use what I had, and the older works in storage became the subjects of an investigation. it was an intensive and focussed period in which I made some work which I think reflects a pivotal point in my career.
I began to make some abstract pieces that were somewhat influenced by traditional Japanese woodblock printing techniques. Deconstructing a painting that was previously worked on for hours is an interesting process. Which marks and brushstrokes are the ones to keep and which can be discarded? Using blades, cutters, lino cutting tools and sandpaper, I began deconstructing paintings in order to reconstruct them again, and I found the process to be cathartic and exciting.
There's something about the prospect of making things that are neither painting, nor prints, nor drawing, but encorporating elements of each. What each piece ultimately becomes is an object that is a physical manifestation of abstract thoughts and given a new form and potential. The way I began to work at the beginning of my Covid Residency is, in a sense, a mirror of what we're all rediscovering or reevaluating in the past few months - figuring out what's important and discarding the rest. The dualisms that emerged in the process perhaps serve as a reminder that where there is dark there is light, where there is death there is life, and sometimes these contrasting things can work symbiotically.
When we emerge from this pandemic the world will be a very different place, and even the things that are familiar to us will have changed beyond recognition. This extended period of a focussed daily practice culminated in a body of work that is dynamic, reflective, and exciting, while allowing me to make some very specific decisions in terms of the formal elements of my work. The above images are from those initial lockdown months.