In march 2019, I spent the month at Studio Kura in Itoshima, Japan, in an artists residency. During that month, I made two large pieces using ink on hemp paper, collaging the drawing together as I worked. During the exhibition, I was asked to make some comments, which are below.
So in the history of art, there’s two major approaches to the figure. And the first of which is what you see in both a lot of Western art and Eastern art in which the figure is this hero; the Buddha; the Christ; frequently, where you have this central figure from which all the world is emanating. The figure might be ascending, or descending, or just holding space. For many years I’ve played with that idea, but over time, I’ve become interested in other approaches to the figure. And the ways that figures interact with each other.
How many different ways can two or more figures interact? The Virgin Mary holds the baby; two lovers; a fight; many , many more. And these pieces i like to imagine figures interacting in various ways. In one moment, they might be doing one thing, but at any given moment, i might change my mind! Maybe the figure that were fighting, are now kissing, or hugging! This is what goes on inside the painting, where the painting is talking about itself. And then there’s me, and our relationship to the painting and what its doing, and that can be a very different story.
I think when I’m sitting in my studio all alone, quietly thinking about what matters to me, I think the thing that is most important to me is the idea of an embrace. A hug: whether it’s a mother, a lover, or even ourself, giving ourselves that. I think what I’d like most from the work that I do is that it embraces you, the viewer, so that hopefully when you leave this space, you feel you’ve been given love.