I've always found shadows and glints of light revealing, as if they are manifestations of the inner person, or psychological messages. Art can see through to the meaning of things. I consider moving image an ideal form to explore ideas about our relative experience of time and the pace and rhythms of thinking. I use layers of photography, video and drawing which at times extend into installation and making art contraptions - low-tech objects with destabilised imagery. I bring my background in classical music into my art practice by abstracting and layering music with recordings to make sound for work, waves of acoustics which reflect the pulse and cycles of consciousness and memory.
I often reread The Object Stares Back by James Elkins to think about its central philosophy that vision is a series of illusions: Seeing alters the thing that is seen and transforms the seer. I am fascinated by the process of creativity itself and how the mind interprets what it sees or invents. My work imagines hidden movements behind solid things, as a reminder to my own thinking that nothing is really static, and even the most solidified thought or belief is subject to change. My approach to making is like a complex abstract painting, which, as soon as marks are made, has layers of equations to resolve. There are many processes and thoughts towards the finished work, and there may be myriad solutions, but there is one right one, one expression and ordering of all the elements which brings art together, creating the form and frame of an idea.
Wyndminster mystery novel series.
History doesn't stay buried in the past, not when it keeps shoving itself into the here and how.
Persimmon Grainger discovers that dyslexia brings special abilities and intuitions which help in solving mysteries. She tackles her own vulnerabilities and devastating past events while making sense of the connections between fabulous artefacts, histories, fables, crimes, wolves and movies. All are intertwined in Wyndminster, a town where students, tourists and Dark Ages myths coexist.
The Silver Map. A globe with strange markings may be the first layer of a map that charts underground passageways and lost rivers. But some tunnels are unstable, and above ground is a stalker.
The Golden Street. A man with a potentially dangerous artefact has gone missing, and the scientists looking for him are dubious. On the streets, the vengeance of St. Child may not be buried in legend.
The Ruby Window. Nothing’s more cosy coming up to Christmas than a good old Victorian murder mystery, right? Unless Wyndminster’s own serial killer, the Dust Squire, has stepped out from the past.
The Lost Rivers. A Wyndminster Decameron. Ten weeks, ten speakers, one hundred stories, a linked miscellany of histories, herstories, mysteries, memories, recipes, wolves, legends, ghosts, killers, treasure, jokes, puns, tunnels, creatures, horrors, saints, research, testimonies, turnips, graves, books and birds about the Lost Rivers of Wyndminster.
The Emerald Hall. Is the Wolf real? Everything points to him just being a figment of the imagination, an expression of fear. Threat sometimes whispers through time, and while some old stories are fanciful, others may be warnings.
I felt very drawn to putting myself through studying psychology. It was fascinating, although frankly a new way of thinking at times as I had not studied a science, or the dreaded statistics before. I'm very interested in the mechanics of thought, and keep finding new ways to explore that enquiry, through art, writing, psychology, science, heritage and especially where these disciplines intersect. I'm fascinated by gallery and museum practice, and have developed a unique perspective, with experience as a practising artist, a curator and gallerist, a reviewer and assessor, and having conducted my own psychology study comparing artists and non-artists. I love all those questions and debates about what is put in galleries, how it's shown and interpreted, and above all, how it is experienced by the viewer. I've worked on projects, applying research insights to archives and other institutions, and have researched and written catalogue pieces for contemporary and heritage exhibitions.
I feel very fortunate that I've been able to have a parallel career as an assessor and reviewer of books and the arts. I think critique to a set of criteria is so important, and it seems to be a diminishing trade at the moment. The assessor or reviewer is practised in examining all sorts of aspects of a work and its presentation, seeing if it does what it says on the tin - exhibition, novel, film, whatever it is. So often the customer journey is overlooked or assumed in the arts - there are many brilliant examples of great practice, but others where perhaps only one curator or director has a view, and misses out on diverse approaches to art and differences in access.
I travelled around England for Arts Council England and OwnArt, visiting galleries and arts centres, and writing reports and appraisals of my experiences. Living in London, I have worked a lot there. Always freelance, I also reviewed for my own undercover alter ego persona, theGlamorousAnorak. As well as exhibitions I reviewed theatre, film and opera for sites like The Upcoming and The Alternative Arts Review. I had the bizarre experience one year of reviewing the London Film Festival, sitting in quite nice screening rooms and manky cinemas to see 3 or 4 films each day.
i started reviewing restaurants, including for ViewLondon. As someone with what has been described as a cautious palate and I would describe as sensitivities, again a fascinating journey - it's the same kind of critique about the whole experience, but using a different language.
And books. I must have written hundreds, possibly thousands of book reviews, mostly for The Good Book Guide, now gone but still missed. What a great idea, a magazine full of independent reviews. I've always loved reading book reviews, back to my childhood membership of the Puffin Post.
Reviewing and assessing has given me wonderful experiences and memories in the arts, and also honed my skills of observation and brutal editing. I refer to it all in the past, because Covid has certainly curtailed my visits. I don't know if I will review or assess again. Just before the lockdown I was in talks with someone about setting up an independent assessment service. Perhaps once things open up that will be an idea whose time has come. It's a bit like mystery shopping in the arts.
Customer reviews and feedback are one thing, but I believe that professional critique with experiential reporting is invaluable to an organisation, otherwise they learn in a closed circle and the way they describe work is just their own advertising copy.
I am an artist making and exhibiting moving image, installation, sound and art contraptions. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, and currently living and working in London, I originally trained in classical music. Using video, photography, recordings, drawing and low-tech construction, my work distils abstract and scientific notions into beautiful insights. I have an MA in fine art (Open College of the Arts 2014) and a BA first-class in fine art (Middlesex 2006). Research interests and a fascination in psychology led me to undertake an MSc in the subject (Hertfordshire 2017). I make gallery-based work and often set up projects for myself. I run theViewergallery pop-up for artist projects and moving image screenings, and work as a covert artist in residence. I mentor and tutor, and review and write about books, exhibitions and culture.