I am a visual artist, participatory arts tutor, and a perfumer. I am an activist for local self-determination and the relationships between humans and other forms of nature. My aim is to be a champion for the public understanding of those who have experienced trauma and PTSD, and live with sight loss.
All of these concerns are intertwined and form different aspects of my artistic practice. For content I have created on participatory arts and local activism, visit www.inverkeithingarts.org
My method of painting involves exploring the mobility of the painted surface, playing with tensions and relationships between freedom and control. I begin from references to geographical patterns, natural and human forms, responses to colour, or simply emotional states and responses. I integrate materials such as wool, found objects and collage. I also work with sculptural forms and artist’s books which explore themes of fragility and strength. I use photography to record the 3 dimensional objects I make, and reintegrate the photographs into further visual work.
I am also fascinated by the sense of olfaction, since damage to my retinas in 2016 has caused vision loss. I have lost the ability to see detail, and also have difficulty with colour and depth of field. With perfuming I can enter a state of complete mental attention, without being distracted by loss or difficulty. I have been experimenting with composing perfumes, based on responses to the natural world, landscape and memory.
Since 2016 I have been developing work which explores the phenomenology of traumatic experience such as mind/body dissociation, depersonalisation, derealisation, PTSD and memory loss. I think of the post-trauma experience as being one which is liminal, a state of being in between. The flow of life has been disrupted, and new life has not yet emerged. What is found in this state is between rhythm and disruption, loss and bliss, rupture and rapture. The uncanny, imminent and unsettling express this state of suspension and allow the viewer to glimpse suggestions of reality behind the veil of normal perception.