Artist's Statement: "Memories… the past… the present"

Much of my work deals with the interplay between our past, our childhood memories and how they relate to, and have moulded the present in which we exist. It is a very personal journey, unashamedly autobiographical, and in a sense a 'self-portrait', albeit from the past, but one which has, and continues to impact on life today.

I feel that the role of 'memory' in particular is crucial here. Our memories on the one hand help us to make sense of what has gone in the past, and the past is the cornerstone of what gives us our sense of being who we are today. Memory however can be very selective and easily influenced by external factors. The principal of these and of crucial importance in helping us to remember the past, are old family photographs, that we all have, and which we see as helping us to remember the events and people of the past. But with the distance of time our memories of the event depicted are not necessarily those presented to us, and we must ask ourselves how truthful are the photographs to how things actually were and how truthful to our childhood memories of those times. Do they of themselves create another "false" memory - made real in our sub-conscious by the forcefulness of that photographic image before us. How does this impact on our actual childhood memories and by implication our sense of who we are?

My paintings take as their starting point snapshots taken from the family album, or other 'found' images, reconstituted to make a totally new constructed image to show up this interaction between false and real memory. By using brightly coloured or very neutral backgrounds, I hope to remove the central elements of the painting from the specific references of time and place, with its rather personal implied narrative, presented in the original source photograph, and thereby enable the viewer to concentrate on the emotional impact of the figures and the memories they may suggest, making the painting rather more suggestive and relevant to all. By denying any specific reference to a specific time or place the painting in this way subverts the role of the photograph as an enabler of memories, in whatever form they may take.

I combine the largely monochrome central images (representing the mainly black and white photographs from which they are sourced) with coloured elements which are actual memories of things I remember, and in so doing call on the viewer to relate his or her own experiences and memories to the paintings and enable them to engage with the work on a personal level.

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Novus Studio, Manor Farm, Wateringbury, Maidstone, Kent ME18 5PP, UK
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