As a painter I am interested in the language of painting and how this language has been framed by its cultural conditions and the historical legacy of painting in general. My studio practice examines how a renewed consideration of these contextual elements offers possibilities for a contemporary practice. These interests are grounded in my research for a practice-led PhD in which I explored the notion of cultural recycling (abstract).
I approach this notion of ‘recycling’ with a painting practice that deals with mimetic assimilations and re-interpretations of Modernism’s formal vocabulary and stylistic devices, re-presenting them in a manner that deliberately goes against the prevalent ideology of their time. Comparing my task to the work of a language interpreter who is dealing with cross-cultural differences which defy straightforward translations, I am interested in the implications of such stylistic translations and the possibilities they reveal.
Over the last two years I have been focussing on the work of de Kooning. In my paintings de Kooning’s (masculine) expressionistic brush strokes are ‘tamed’ with an illusionistic mark making which mimics embroidery/textiles and as such alludes to feminine materials and craft. But rather than being post-modern appropriations that dwell on irony, my painstaking renderings of his paintings aim at heightening their presence. As my paintings remain de Kooning’s iconic images we know and yet appear feminised and unfamiliar they are at once an alluring homage and critique, a celebration of modernist formulistic masculinity and a contemporary comment on gender politics.