Until recently I split my time between London and Wexford. On my return home to Wexford at the beginning of March, 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. It has so far been an intensive and focussed period in which I have 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. Instead of printing from a woodblock, I started to carve reliefs into older paintings on gesso board, making ink prints from them, and susequently achieving dual end results; a painting and a print. 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 was 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’m working since 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 emerge 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 will culminate in a body of work that is dynamic, reflective, and exciting, and I look forward to showing the best of it as a studio exhibition in July/August, and hopefully further afield as conditions allow. Here are some images from the past 4 months.