I was born in Preston, England and studied printmaking and painting at Manchester School of Art. I have a degree in Fine Art and a Master of Arts in Education. I have worked as an artist and teacher in many different countries and traveled extensively throughout this time. The experience of living in diverse cultural environments has given my creative work a broad international outlook. I am currently a full time professional artist and photographer, living and working in Cambridgeshire and my work is on display in private, public and corporate collections in Germany, Cyprus, Qatar and the UK. It is possible to discern a range of influences within my work and I have always been very interested in the work of the American abstract expressionists and the contemporary German artists, Gerhardt Richter and Anselm Kiefer.
My philosophy of art has crystallised over a lifetime of studying, teaching and learning and is essentially quite simple. I believe art should have three key elements if it is to embody and retain, value and relevance. This is a holistic philosophy and can be applied to all aspects of life, but is particularly helpful in the context of creating art. It isn't a new idea - not by any means - but it is a very powerful one. It can be summarised as the 3 H's; Head, Heart and Hand. I believe that Art making should involve cognitive knowledge and understanding (the Head), emotional and spiritual qualities (the Heart), and practical and physical skills (the Hand). There is no rigid mechanism or formula for ensuring the optimum balance of these three qualities, and often one element is dominant, however, the absence of one of these qualities or attributes seems to leave the work somehow reduced or imbalanced.
My recent paintings are concerned with landscape and colour and partly reflect my experience of living in the extreme climate of Qatar, with the angular contemporary architecture of Doha, the unrelentingly flat terrain and the intense heat of the desert sun. This seems to have merged seamlessly with the featureless landscapes and open horizons of the Cambridgeshire fenland. I see these paintings as a kind of fusion, a poetic visual representation of place.
My photographic work is also very much about the immediate environment. For me, the landscape of the Fens is a unique combination of human intervention and natural growth; they were created from mudflats and marshes, drained to make space for agricultural land. They exist in a temporary world made possible by artificial waterways, steep embankments and human engineering. This is a reclaimed world that may one day return to the sea.
I make art because itís what I have always done. To be part of this world is a privilege and trying to make sense of it is a full time occupation and lifelong challenge. One way to reflect on the world is through images. For me, the act of image making enhances the sense of mystery and fascination we all experience in our lives. To create pictures is to be involved in a strange, wonderful and mysterious activity. I have traveled extensively and I am inspired by places and a sense of location; to varying degrees, the different countries in which I have lived and worked are inevitably embedded in my work. They keep appearing, voluntarily, even when I am not looking.
In my recent painting, I donít attempt to describe a particular place or geographical location; I am more interested in accumulated experience, the underlying architecture of shapes, colour and texture that combine to create the environment we live in. I also try to achieve a feeling of time passing, of change in the midst of permanence, and permanence in the midst of change. Each painting has opaque and semi-transparent layers of paint with fragments of earlier glazes still evident below the surface. The visible world is only the outer layer that confronts our eyes. When we begin to talk about seeing and perception, we quickly realise that what we see, is only a part of the story, just the tip of the iceberg. We donít just see what is directly in front of us, we see in relation to ourselves, our past, and our experiences. If my paintings have an uncertain quality then I may have made some progress, because nothing in our world stays the same, nothing is fixed. Everything is in a state of movement and flux.
I find painting both pleasurable and difficult in equal measure, but the struggle to arrive at a solution, to discover a way forward, a combination of line, colour and shape that works and can sustain itself is an essential part of the process. This is where the real magic and power of art resides, in the alchemy of materials, memory, awareness and feeling. This is why painting is ultimately so rewarding. I hope you will find elements in my painting that you can respond to and enjoy.
I have exhibited widely in both solo and group exhibitions. Below, is a selection of past and current exhibitions.
Famagusta Gate. Nicosia, Cyprus
Kunstverien, Kreis Gutersloh, Germany
Anglo - German Gesellschaft, Nordrhein Westphalen, Germany
Evangelische Akademie, Loccum, Germany
Ramada Hotel, Doha, Qatar
Al Jazi, Doha, Qatar
Babylon Gallery, Ely, UK
The Eel Catcher's Daugter, Ely (Photography)
Wisbech Museum, Wisbech, UK
Haddenham Gallery, Haddenham, UK (Photography)