12.01.2015 - 03.02.2015
I arrived to the residency with artist Abigail Box in the middle of January and within a couple of days we had completely settled into our life in Trelex and had begun making our new work.
To explain briefly about my practice, I am a painter interested in mostly the body and the ‘weird’, the outcome is largely installations that combine collage, painting, objects and film. I came to the residency with the intention of being quite experimental and open minded about what I would make but there were two parameters that I set myself in order to start a new body of work. Firstly, I wanted to make work that would be easily transportable and so decided quite early on that I would make mostly videos and secondly I wanted to explore ways of making paintings without actually using any paint. To my delight both Abi and Nina were excited and stimulated by these ideas which made my time on the residency very productive and enjoyable.
|‘Just Sit Down and Let the Colours Go in Your Eyes’ 1 minute video, 2015|
‘Just Sit Down and Let the Colours Go in Your Eyes’ was my first finalised piece of work from the residency. I wanted to move away from a more abstracted way of working and instead make the content more apparent and so began to experiment with the use of an isolated eye on an ipad and iphone, which existed within a mini installation of surfaces, textures and sensations. Within the installation there is a tension between the cutting of string, eyeballs and sound and is influenced by the idea of leading the viewer which is often used by film makers.
|‘Stop Licking my Cornflakes’ 1 minute video, 2015|
In terms of thinking about painting without painting, I also made a series of videos that involved the use of foods. This included going into the Trelex Woods with a canister of squirty cream and also using chocolate milk and vegetables as a replacement for paint within compositions. There was a focus on the lusciousness of food, it’s colour and textures and it was an important process to think about painting and it’s materiality within a wider sense.
|‘Council Pop’ 12 second video, 2015|
During our second week of the residency we held a coffee morning, to invite local residents of Trelex amongst others to see our works in progress. The attendees were mostly non artists, and it was a challenge to try and explain our ideas behind our practices, particularly when thinking about work that had squirty cream as a dominant feature. It was challenging but I also really appreciated being able to speak about my work and to try and answer as coherently as possible, such questions as ‘but how is that art?’ I hope that I managed to give some credence to my work and show that I am genuinely an artist that is very much interested in painting… even when there is not a brush in sight.
|Studio Shot, Trelex Residency, 2015|
Myself, Nina and Abi spent a large amount of time in the studio, working alongside one another, with regular intervals of tea, chocolate and discussions. These pauses were a massively important part of the residency. I felt I was really able to appreciate both Nina and Abi’s practice as I began to gain insight into their motivations and interests. Our conversations bounced wildly between art, science, philosophy and life itself and I particularly enjoyed that however big the detours were, the conversations often came back to ideas around painting.
Whilst spending a large amount of time within the studio, we also ventured out for bike rides, walks, trips to Nyon and Geneva. We were introduced to some of the people within Nina’s network of contemporary artists, collectors and gallerists which was also a wonderful part of the experience on the residency.
|Walking up Fruiters de Nyon, from St Cirgue, 2015|
|Abi Box in the Snow, 2015|
Our last Sunday was spent snow shoeing from St Cergue to the top of Fruitiers de Nyon and for me was one of the highlights of our stay. We trekked for 7kms through feet and feet of snow and as an English person who’s only seen small amounts of snow fall, I was as excited as a child. There was a painterlyness to the landscape as everything was covered with white mounds and Santa Claus was mentioned frequently. Our final few hours were spent in St Cergue drinking beers and so felt like an appropriate way to mark the beginning of the end of the residency.