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6th May 2024

The current focus of my practice is sensation and memory. Like many people, I spend a lot of time thinking about my memories. Their subject interests me, but their nature interests me more; I am aware that they are more fiction than fact and are usually viewed through an emotive lens. This is often rose-tinted or nostalgic, about a perceived happier time, though not always. I am slightly ashamed to admit I sometimes find myself wishing a pleasant moment would be over so I can dwell on it as pure happiness in my thoughts without any distractions from the discomforts of reality. 

 

I have noticed that most of my memories prioritise visual information above information from other senses. Although living in the present is a multisensory experience, pains, odours, temperatures and textures are often absent from memories. My paintings are an attempt to examine, or even change this. It is a challenge to record non-visual sensation through a purely visual medium, however by doing so I hope that these sensations can become more memorable, and I can create paintings that better communicate the feelings of being human.  

 

My current approach is split into two methods. On the one hand I am making small drawings from personal memories. I choose fairly recent moments when I felt particularly aware of my surroundings and a certain sense of awe, or heightened emotion. In the moments themselves I concentrate on how each of my senses is affected in turn, and which, if any, dominates to make this moment particularly noteworthy. Shortly after, or when making my drawings later, I record each of these sensations alongside my visual recollection. I try to note as much as I can without repetition; to record the essence of the experience and communicate the subjective tone of it. 

 

The other part of my work takes an external gaze. Instead of subject, I, or my body, become object. The viewer is voyeur to an intimate world. Through distortions of colour and abstraction of the surrounds I try to draw attention to the sensation that affected me most in that moment: a burning cheek against a cool pillow, or a waterlogged knot at the back of my swimming costume, pressing against my neck and leaking dye as I swim. My sketchbook drawings are specific; they relate to my personal experiences. Although others may have experienced similar scenes, they haven’t been exactly where I have. By drawing a body, I hope to engender a more intense empathy from the viewer. Their body may not look like mine, but they likely have felt the broader sensations of heat or pressure that I portray. My drawings show the past, but my paintings are present tense. 

 

These paintings, like my memories, are a fiction, artificially created to try to record a sense of how it feels to remember. They communicate a feeling about a moment in the past, manifest in the present. 

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