In the making of my artworks, I seem to be making my own play things – toys and dolls – in order to give form to fantasy and imaginary characters, albeit with a strong autobiographical undercurrent, with whom I can interact and develop ongoing dialogues. Anthropomorphic interpretation enables me to explore notions and pursue ideas in relatively un-self-conscious ways, allowing characters to emerge and be given expression, rather more than direct representation.
I therefore work in ways which allows this to take place, not necessarily always in the same sequence, although the collection of visual reference material always precedes a new body of work. From this material, I use drawing to examine, clarify and give emphasis to certain elements, most notably heads and faces – as we look to these for identity – and also for clues to inter-relationships between individuals or groups, which may have started to evolve. Of these the mother/ child relationship has been a consistent theme, and since becoming a mother myself, has particular poignancy.
Drawing informs rather than dictates developments – allowing me to explore notions and sharpens my thoughts, before starting to fashion and form the figures in relatively intuitive ways in clay, responding to its intrinsic properties. A dialogue develops between the characters and myself and also between the characters themselves, as they emerge through the process, whether working directly by hand or with moulds. The profile of the modelling tends to be relatively simple, allowing me to strengthen or accentuate particular expression more precisely through painting plain or stained slips of various hues and tones of clay onto the surfaces of the forms.
I am frequently surprised if not sometimes alarmed by the characters and relationships which emerge from process of making the artworks – I feel that I giving substance or body to what is subliminal.
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