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Nigel P : I like a puzzle - to be invited to figure out what it is I'm looking at. This image displaying a kind of grid structure with smudges looks vaguely scientific, maybe a series of lab grown cultures or a thermal imaging snapshot looking down on figures moving through buildings. Then there's the areas of colour - layers that sit either in front or between the mesh of the grid - and lastly the area of white space - where the grid stops.

I read the title Versions/Matrix and the description - reprographic print of original paintings - and I realise that there is possibly some sort of cataloguing or indexing taking place - an attempt to map creative endeavour. Futher questions emerge - are the "original paintings" a distinct body of work, a folio, or attempts to make a single work. Does the printing involve reductions in scale, cropping or the sewing together of work by many hands? Is the space at the right there to be filled - or is it that the source material ran out? Did the painting stop?

Looking closely at the more substantial painted areas - are these landscape references or body images; is this some kind of terrain or mark making diary. Some features are repeated - is there a syntax, a language or purely ornamental patterning. What is it thats being recorded and matrixed - haptic motions, accidental smears, meaningful marks?

As a whole the work reminds me of Susan Hiller's works from the 1970s; her reconfiguration of painted works as books, piles of ash and unravelled canvases. Hiller's work has a persistent materiality entwinned with the conceptual endeavour of re-working the status of Painting as prized cultural object. One crucial difference is that Versions/Matrix appears to retain the frontaility of a painted surface. Another is that, viewing the image here online takes away any of the insistent materiality of Hiller's objects. Yet I can't escape the conclusion that Versions/Matrix is similarly a product of ritual, and intense creative self reflection.

Jane Boyer: Wow! Thank you so much Nigel for your comments. I absolutely love what you've written. And to think, my work has raised this many questions is astonishing. The first thing I'm going to hook into is your comment about Susan Hiller's work, which is a real compliment to me to be compared with her. She is a remarkable thinker. Your phrase, "reconfiguration of painted works" is precisely what underlies my work overall and Versions: Matrix specifically. I've come to question the continued use of resources in producing new work, so often now, my work is made by re-imaging, reusing, re-sampling, and recycling older work. This has led to a profound interest in the self and in simulacra, which is what I'm doing my PhD thesis on, and it is an "intense creative self reflection." I'll trace the trajectory of Versions: Matrix which may give you a sense of this depth.

One painting primarily, is represented within Version: Matrix in three different ways. First the background of 'splotches' is a digital re-sampling of the painting to create this sporadic pattern. It was created through countless layering of layers in photoshop. Then the area that is slightly golden in colour and looks kind of like an 'eye' is a digital re-imaging of an excerpted detail from the same painting. I made that image a few years after I made the painting. Finally, the image areas that show a 'cross' is a further digital re-imaging based on another excerpted element from the painting. I'll post the original painting, Token, here on P+L so you can see.

We're looking at a an eight-year progression so far. The original painting was made in 2008, the digital re-imaging happened in 2010, the Matrix series happened in 2014, and in 2016-17 I'm continuing to work from this imagery. In late January, I'll be curating a project exploring this way of working. I've invited nine other artists to join me in taking an original work and translating it into three to five new works. My 'original' is Version: Matrix, which as I've just described is anything but the original work. It will engender a further three to five new works.

The process of actually making Versions: Matrix involved several printing passes through the printer. This infused the element of chance into the work. I could not control how the printer printed on the page, so in essence, the process of making V:M was a unique event in the history of this re-sampling. The very nature of reprography means that, even though it is a digital process of reproduction, I couldn't possibly repeat the process. So while the image is created digitally, and its process is of a reproducible nature, it is a one off and cannot be reproduced except by photographing the work.

I would argue this is not the materiality of a painting, but the immateriality of Being, made material, while at the same time, I think raises questions of the notion of materiality as a physical construct.

Nigel P : Hi Jane Thank you for this deeply interesting account of Versions:Matrix and especially for posting Token - You've described this as the original work, and mention sampling- I'm intrigued by the kind of emerging genealogical relationships between the works in your practice, and the ontology of creative expression in play when you refer to the immateriality of Being. Token obviously sounds like something to exchange, beginning a process, a fast forwarding of molecular transformation, a transubstantiation....

I remember as a student reading Benjamin Buchloh on Richter and idea of painting as synecdote - each new work a representative of Painting while adding to and changing the shape of the medium. Also of course Baudrillard's hyperreal: the always already reproduced - the notion of simulation and the loss of real as referent. I say as a student, because that is some years ago - before internet and smart phone touch screens transformed relations between sight & touch, presence & distance - those visceral markers of connections to a Real beyond discourse.

Looking at Token on screen, reading it's dimensions I imagine it took some physical energy to make - I'm not sure if the darker marks hover or suggest tears, ruptures in an amorphous fabric. Versions:Matrix generates a different kind of depth - you describe mechanical process and digital imaging- and as mentioned there's a sense of something being indexed - charted...

After I stopped being a student (at least in the institutional sense) I eventually owned a PC & scanner- the first thing I did was to gather together slides and notebooks to digitize, transform, to make new sense. For me, technology facilitated reinvention & generated a nostalgia for a possible self. What I see here is also about time - though somewhat more profound and open.

Jane Boyer: Nigel, thank you so much for this intensely interesting discussion. First let me address your question about ontology. You say, “I'm intrigued by the kind of emerging genealogical relationships between the works in your practice, and the ontology of creative expression in play when you refer to the immateriality of Being.”

What does it mean for an artwork to come into being? How can the application and organisation of materials express the essence of being and existence? When is an artwork a synthesis of a life’s experience and all the belief systems, both accepted and rejected, involved in that experience? When is it not? Does time mark the only measure of distance between an artist and the artwork? What can a distance imply, is there ever any actual distance, and what exists in the lacuna, or the gap, of that distance if it is there? And to engage your recent question about your own work, what is an artist seeing? These may appear to be obvious questions, with even more obvious answers, but I think these are the questions at the centre of my practice, and my ontology of creative expression. From these questions, perhaps the genealogical relationship becomes apparent and possibly gives an insight into what I mean by the ‘immateriality of Being’?

It’s really interesting that you mention Buchloh, Richter and Baudrillard. The first two I adore, the third is the antichrist of simulacra! I say that in jest, but Baudrillard’s view of simulacra is the one I’m working against in my doctoral thesis because of its limitations. Baudrillard isn’t wrong, just limited in his scope. I much prefer Deleuze’s view of simulacra as a positive motivator of change, or expressed differently, something that is a difference of difference carrying its own potential for change within it. Another important view of simulacrum, which informed Deleuze, comes from the French novelist Pierre Klossowski, older brother to the artist Balthus. Klossowski saw the simulacrum as an invisible agitation, a deep-seated response that recurs persistently as outward actions and motivations – much like Freud’s and Nietzsche’s ideas, who pre-dated Freud. The notion of synecdoche you mention with regard to Buchloh and Richter is the very thing my supervisor recently suggested I look into, so thank you for that tip. I’ll look up Buchloh’s essay!

With regard to Token, it’s funny; I think of the energy it takes to make all my work as equal. For me, I think of it more as the mental energy of concentration than anything physical, not that that isn’t physical. However, as I approach every work with the same focused attention, I think all of my work takes the same amount of energy to make, which strikes me as an odd way to equate effort, but there it is.

The thing about Token that I personally find so intriguing is the interruption the background texture insists. Every mark in that work is disrupted by the insistence of the background texture. As I worked this became an element, almost an identity of the work. It’s one of those things that parallel experience and we just have to find ways to cope. I found myself approaching that texture in this piece the same way. I wanted to see first, how it affected my intention as I made marks, then what responses it coaxed from me as I coped with its presence, and finally how I managed to synthesise it all together in a coherent whole – or at least a coherency that made sense to me. Others may dispute that it is coherent!

I think then in regard to the translation to Versions: Matrix, it became a question of objectifying the original, making an emblem of it so to speak, which is a further extrapolation of its title as I realise writing this. That was not intentional on my part, but not insignificant. Token became a symbol of its own self, repeated, overlaid, obscured, interrupted, distorted, scaled and changed. It still carries those same original interrogations and meanings, but they have transformed into other meanings of intention, response and synthesis. Within the work, time has become a factor of existence, rather than a factor of expenditure. Through its continued transmutation, Token lives a life of change, chance, and occurrence, just like I do. The question to be debated is whether its life is my life, or whether it is its own?

Nigel P : Hi Jane, I'm spotting a problem with the P+L format - should I be posting under Versions: Matrix or Token. Or may be it's an effect of your practice to make fixing on a single work difficult - feel the curatorial ground splitting and dividing with each iteration?

Much of what you say here resonates with me. I should mention that I've barely entered the foothills of any readings of Delueze but the dynamic idea of becoming, and of desiring production provided a way for me to continue thinking creatively in difficult times. I linked up the idea from Anti-Oedipus (as I understood it) of cultural consumption as generator of psychic meaning (production) to Ranciere's take on the poetry of active spectatorship to overcome the deep sense of guilt that always wells up in the background late at night in the studio, when I sense I should be doing something more socially useful!

I'm moved by what you say about investment in work - "what does it mean for an art work to come into being?". I'm not sure whether here you mean a single object, or the process of becoming. For me I think it is about looking as an imagnative act making the work - creating the poem. When seeing the accumulated effects of all the previous looking you maybe touch life experience: but whose life - is a good question.

Poem - language for me is where the problem starts with my own work. I've difficulty with the relationships between art and discourse in terms of equivalences, of visual literacy and notion of reading works. I'm not sure how words can touch images, except as a kind of prop, or as tracings of a geneological web of possiblities leading back from (in Deluezian terms) the actual to the virtual.

What strikes me from looking at Token, Versions: Matrix, & from your words is how much life and time, as you say "as a factor of existence" is held in the work: could say it's magic, or physics - the differentiation of each resampled image, the escalating frequency of looks; an accumulation of possibilities across space and time present all at once (cubism, a David Jones drawing). Not sure though, that in this process you can say where one life ends and another begins.

Jane Boyer: Thank you Nigel, my apologies, American events have taken my attention. I would like to think that "the effect of my practice makes fixing on a single work difficult," and if that is the case, that is a very great compliment indeed. As you mention curation, this is an important element of auto-curation, or artist/curator practice, which holds significance for me - this idea of division, or perhaps more to the point, subdivision. It's not an idea of division as separation, but more like division as reduction. Let me explain that. As an artist/curator it is my job to curate my own work either on its own, or in conjunction with other artists' work. In order to do this, I must consider the totality of my production and make decisions on where I can 'isolate' images from the context of their making, removing them from their 'set' and immediately initiating the condition that they then represent all of those other pieces which cannot be represented within the scene of the exhibition. In all reality, these are not decision that can be made with any rationale or logic, they are decisions of chance, in that I realise it is equivalent to a throw of the dice: The throw happens (the choice is made), the dice tumble (all unrepresentable associations take effect), the dice fall back from the throw (the work takes its place in the exhibition as member, as place-holder, as emblem, as isolate). The message of the work is no longer just the readable visual, it is all of these things separately and at once. It is the significance of all these things that pose the question, "what does it mean for an artwork to come into being?" So while separation happens in making the choice to exhibit a work, actually what is happening is a distillation and reduction, or maybe a realigning, of meanings associated with the work. I see this as uniquely happening within artist/curator practice. In light of this, it makes complete sense that you would have difficulty 'fixing' on one work. That tells me that I might be right in this notion of artist/curator practice.

I know what you mean, it can be hard sometimes to rationalise the social benefit of making art, but I truly believe without art we are not civilised beings. It's a difficult thing because the effect of art is not quantifiable, but remove it and think of the dire consequences of an existence with no creativity. I don't think our psyches could cope. Posing the question "what does it mean for an artwork to come into being?" is an all encompassing question. It contains the question for the individual object, as well as the totality of a practice in its process of becoming. You touch on the implication of this question when you mention Deleuze and Ranciere above. Perhaps, much like I described about curating one's own work above, the creation of an artwork is a distillation of all the influences and experiences we've had. The artwork becomes a resonance of a life, which then emanates back all that is visible and unrepresentable from that life, becoming something other than the representation of that life.

This is perhaps a good point to address the issue of the relationship between work and discourse, because with such a vaulted view of what an artwork is as I've just expressed, it can be hard to talk about it. For me, the question of talking about art is not one of equating language to visuals, but perhaps more like translating visuals into language. But that isn't in terms of trying to set up any kind of parallel for translation to be able to happen. I think it is just another way of experiencing the visual through the linguistic. Language will always fail in its attempts to describe the visual and the visual will always fail to convey the fulsome meaning of language; they are two different means of experience. But experiencing the visual as language is possible, just as experiencing language as the visual is possible. What I mean is, the experience is uniquely one or the other, but the application of one to the other does not have to be in terms of equivalence alone. For me visual literacy is sort of like knowing how to read clues. It's knowing how to 'speak' through looking, calculate through looking, analyse through looking. The looking comes first in visual literacy.

And finally, that is the point, I like the way you've said this, "...the escalating frequency of looks; an accumulation of possibilities across space and time present all at once." There is no distinction between where one life ends and another one begins in the multiplicity of Being. We fuse with our context, are products of our context, and while we experience our context uniquely, we are so enmeshed in it and with it that it would be impossible to extract an individual from the context. Hopefully, this fusion and simultaneous 'escalating frequency' are what comes across in my work.

Nigel P : Hi Jane

I think I realised when first seeing this and the rest of your folio that there is a lot to unpack from your work - thank you for being so generous in sharing yor thought processes and ideas about making and wider critical contexts for creative endeavour.

You mention events in America at the begining of your last comment. Think that what you say about words and images, the interplay between discursive and visual fields is very relevant to the culture of politics - especially at this moment when values, identity, self expression and the concept of choice are embroiled in such a momentous outcome.

I really liked the way you characterised the choosing of images - auto curation as a sub dividing, a reduction - a distillation. It made me thinks about language and the structuring of sentences - words on the page, works on the wall or on screen; each stream of contiguous elements selected from, standing for all the things not said or shown.

Probably the bit I struggle with most in my own work is the notion of making sense. That the pattern of choices means something to me, and something different to the reader or spectator - the witness or conspirator. And then in what ways is such a meaning understood and sanctioned as valid or real, or contested? There are obvious rules and conventions - much of the discourse about visual imagery draws from the structuraton of words - as in rhetoric of the image - application of devices such as metaphor, trope, synecdote etc.

I'm particularly wondering about public discourse - ideas of value and exchange and how rhetorical conventions might privledge certain choices over others. Many years ago a tutor said to me that 'you can't have socialism in one work' - in that there needed to be an accumulation, a body of material through which a perspective, an orientation could be manifest, be shared...

Versions: Matrix seems to play along these lines - as something that's both one and many; as we said - an accumulation of looks - a vessel of experience. On P+L it also multiplies in the ether - a mirage, a mesh of pixels on the screen. What you show and what you've said are making me reconsider what it is to encounter immanace of art objects and to scrutinise their apparition in cyberspace.

Discussion

Catherine Haley Epstein: Hi Paul - I'm really enjoying this image right now, especially as I sit in a very bifurcated country (US) today. As you likely understand, and per this image, truth only comes when you don't have binary thinking. I'd be curious if you have continued with this series and thought process? I'm intrigued...

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Richard Zeiss: Hi Ryan, I quite like this work, and will permit myself for now to just add this quick note: you may find Reece Jones' work interesting. Have a look. I suppose there is a more explicitly, or visually, metaphysical aspect in Reece's work (you will see what I mean) than is immediately raised in yours, but you may find it interesting all the same...

Andy D'Cruz: Ryan,

I have been drawn to your work not only because it resonates with mine in mood and atmosphere, but also we seem also have a desire to communicate a charge, something we have felt from experiencing the places or situations we have found ourselves in.
This quality seems for me to lie within the place, and is referred to not in mere depiction but as a more embodied entity within the work. I like the feeling of something being imprinted, left to be re-experienced by the viewer, a feeling of returning to the scene, a place of importance, an eerie sense of place.
I especially appreciate your comment ‘between memory and reality’. I also like the notion of these being confused with dreams as well as other peoples shared memories and common experiences.
Anyway great to see it, maybe you could comment some more?

Cheers,

Andy

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Nigel P : Flag intrigues me greatly- at a glance I get the Richter references and see that it looks vaguely like a lot of other paintings from any time in the last 40 yrs or so. As in - it looks like a lot of the paintings I like looking at and feel comfortable with. But then I'm not so sure that it is like anything so familiar. I started to see landscape, or aerial photography or some kind of animal pelt in the left hand half. Then there is the spine - I'm assuming it's two separate panels with stitching pulled between - that reads like a border, isolating one from the other, minimising a contagion. Kind of thought that the title refers to a warning - to be aware of the danger, not to take the painting at face value, which I certainly would heed.

Jane Boyer: Hello Nigel,

Thank you very much for your comments, I'm sorry to be so late in responding. First of all let me address the technical question you raise of two panels stitched together. Flag is in fact a single unitary piece. The central line which does look like a sort of stitched spine, is a thick application of acrylic white paint that cracked in the process of drying. I think it may be the thing I love most about the piece. It's funny you mention seeing an animal pelt in the left side. If you saw the painting in person, that area on the left does indeed look like a pelt. It is a very thick smear of paint that has a curiously fuzzy/dull texture, which is not at all evocative of the texture of paint.

Yes, I was as equally enthralled with Richter's smear paintings, as I was with Johns' flag paintings when I painted this. I'm very gratified by your comment, "Flag intrigues me greatly- at a glance I get the Richter references and see that it looks vaguely like a lot of other paintings from any time in the last 40 yrs or so. As in - it looks like a lot of the paintings I like looking at and feel comfortable with. But then I'm not so sure that it is like anything so familiar." I think that is an important thing to accomplish in a work, the feeling of familiar resemblance, that simultaneously raises questions of familiarity and resemblance. That is another aspect for the simulacrum, that I discussed in more detail in response to Niki Hare's comments below. That sense of familiar resemblance also hopefully indicates that my work is grounded in art discourse, but is pushing boundaries.

I like your final statement too, "Kind of thought that the title refers to a warning - to be aware of the danger, not to take the painting at face value, which I certainly would heed." I think any time an 'anti' concept is presented, which is essentially what you have responded to in your comments, there is cause for warning. Much like the words 'neo' and 'post', 'anti' is a prefix that presupposes a great deal in the debate, it's perhaps this presupposition that is more problematic than the notion of resurrecting, reinventing, or antagonising, which is carried in 'neo' 'post' and 'anti'. And to be perfectly clear, I am not suggesting something like 'neo-fascism' is in any way not problematic! What I'm talking about is language and the way we use it. The warning you sensed in the title 'Flag' is a warning to engage preconceptions with care.

Thanks again for your comment.

Nigel P : Hi Jane Thanks so much for taking time to write. I very much enjoy the clarity with which you discuss your work and am eager to see what happens next in the play of expression, autobiography & simulacra. I'm used to thinking of simulacra in terms of post modern critique - new media, virtual reality & breakdown of meaning - here though there is a sense of the personal and uncanny tied into wider ideas of how paintings become Painting and how we assess values, social justice etc.

I especially like the process by which paintings translate across media - when the single object becomes many images: the changes and distortions that occur, the misreadings.... that a raised bar of paint can read as a tear or split - the role of the viewer in endorsing likeness: witnessing the cycling of images-unwittingly perpetuating slippages and misreadings: such spaces for expression & story.

Niki Hare: Hi Jane,

I really like this piece and admire the execution. Flags frighten me a bit, just all the things that lead on. I guess that is just something of my past and where I come from. This is a very open flag that implies something neutral.

Jane Boyer: Hi Niki,

Thanks very much for your comment! I know what you mean, flags kind of scare me too. When I painted this I had recently moved to Europe and was feeling very anxious about being American. I was thinking a lot about Jasper John's iconic handling of the American Flag. For me, my Flag is an anti-flag. It is neither symbolic, except of its own void, nor is it a call to action or allegiance, though there is a great deal of activity in it and it presents a clear distinction between right and left. I think it may be because these very things are brought to the fore in the work, that I think of it as an anti-flag. It shows all the things that flags actually do, without offering any symbolism which activates so much tension and conflict in their presence. Flags are simulacra, representing nations, values, and cultures. They stand in as an immediately recognizable symbol of all the history and actions a nation has undertaken. To present an anti-flag is to strip bare the simulacrum, undermine it, and induce its recurrence as something devoid of power when stripped of its symbolism. It turns the simulacrum into a simulacrum of itself, which is the ultimate destiny for any simulacrum. Simulacra never die, they just perpetually fold and consume themselves.

I should mention, an example of this is Enigma Wall, which is uploaded in my profile. It is a hyper-replication of Flag and it exemplifies this idea of perpetual folding of the simulacrum.

Thanks again for your comment. That is probably more than you ever wanted to know about simulacra!

Niki Hare: Thanks Jane!

You have both confirmed everything I was finding in Flag, and also strengthening my understanding of simulacra. Very helpful indeed ;-) Especially looking at your piece Enigma Wall now, the idea of this perpetual folding, nothing ever really goes away. I am thinking now of Richter's stripes, they were born of other paintings, so they were the other paintings, only in a different format, folded.
I am also thinking of a vast installation I made of a folded paper mountain last year, one of the things that fascinated me in it's process was the repetitive enlargement of my original image, and the changes that occurred in that process. My original image was less than A4 and was eventually printed out to over 160 sheets of A0, my process was rubbish, just a real bodge job of printing, enlarging and rephotographing by section, and reprinting and enlarging. However, little things started to happen with each reproduction, little dust motes and flecks of graphite would appear and then be enlarged to become significant features, there would be stripes of sunlight and shadows that weren't there before. It was an inefficient process but I loved it for all these flaws.

Jane Boyer: Thanks Niki, that's good to hear. Your installation sounds fascinating! Yes, all the flaws, imperfections, and crudities that get magnified are exactly what makes the reprographic process so magical. I love reprography, and have some of that in my profile too, in the Versions series! I hope to do more of that soon. All the things you mention in your comment are things that will apply to PHANTOM, in regard to translating your paintings into new works, so good luck and happy folding - in whatever form that might take! I can't wait to see what you come up with...

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Nigel P : This made me think of the White Stripes Lego video for Fell in Love with a Girl.... Also, fairly obviously about construction of gender, strictures of academic life drawing etc. Think it's a piece which offers a lot to unpack - as Catherine's comments suggest. Would love to see in animation, or how it looks from different angles on a plinth, could you project images onto white Lego forms..? would be great to see more.

Niki Hare: Thanks for the feedback Nigel, and for awakening me to the White Stripes vid, seriously cooL!
So little thought went into this work, I just wanted a strong image to play around with in a 3D sort of way, this nude was just pinned on the wall and fitted the bill. And so now I go back, look into the piece from a distance after I have made it. It starts to address many issues and opens many ideas, somehow I have gotten to accept that I work backwards.....I make things and then explore them deeper sometime later. I am wondering if I am maybe lucky to know very little about art eduction, I did start a degree once but copped out very soon later, it culled everything I had inside me. After riding horses for 20 yrs I came back to it, just as a fun exploration, just to play with my ideas. Much to my surprise I am now a full time artist, but I keep the same approach, just playing with ideas.
Legola will be on exhibit at the ING Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries....off the top of my head it is 17th to 29th Nov, but double check...just in case you are nearby. I am hoping they give her some space from the wall, so you can see that she has a fully functioning oven and many storage cabinets in the back.

Nigel P : Like the way you describe the making process - it chimes with my childhood memories of lego adverts and the idea of imaginative play through construction. If I can, would love to catch the exhibit - hope Legola gets a great spot!

Catherine Haley Epstein: I quite like this piece on a conceptual and material level. I wonder if this is part of a larger series on women? Or are you playing with the concept of cubism? Two artist to put on your radar - one I saw this summer at the ICA in Boston, he will be representing Canada at the Venice Biennale next summer. His name is Geoffrey Farmer. The installation was incredible. Another artist is Cynthia Lahti - she is local to the Pacific Northwest (US), and does some interesting work combining printed imagery with sculptural material in a witty and powerful way. I think you should do 20 more of these! Or have you?

Niki Hare: Hi Catherine,
Thanks for your feedback and thoughts, especially the artist pointers, both really useful and exciting.
This piece was just a one off prototype, something I have wanted to get back to and develop from....but earning a living keeps getting in the way. I think the thing with the Lego was the idea of interaction, that our perceptions and views change all the time. (At this point I must confess that I really don't think about things when I make them, I just have an idea and run with it, think about it later if at all) . Now I look back at it and see that it is much about shifts in the perception of the female form, how manipulated it all is by society and the time we live in.
Another confession, I had to glue her, that slightly destroys all the thinking on the interaction. She does have her own personal shoe box but still kept on falling apart and as she is going to exhibit herself in London I figured I had better do it to save phone calls to say she had come adrift. (ING Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London, this November)
As for the 20, no, but I have been stockpiling grubby white Lego from Ebay, I am also very tempted by the idea of a large scale Duplo version!

Catherine Haley Epstein: Yes to the large Duplo version and how fun to learn you are keeping a stash of white lego. By the way, I would not worry too much about why you are drawn to creating something. I think just doing what you are inclined to and then looking at it in hindsight is fine. You can always look in retrospect to what you have done to recognize patterns. And trust me, you can draw parallels to anything you are doing, with either contemporary artists or artists in history - we are all connected. Good luck and keep making;-)

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