“The true realism, always and everywhere, is that of the poets; to find out where joy resides and give it a voice far beyond singing.” – R. L. Stevenson
Working with people with visual impairment has given me a richer understanding of the sensory experience of the natural world. Working with the Eden Project in the UK in the areas of disability and environmental access has given me first-hand experience of how contact with nature helps us recover from injury and illness and how it benefits our general wellbeing.
My work shares the benefits of contact with nature. It interprets the colours, rhythms, patterns and textures of the environment through marks on the canvas in order to distil something from nature, something that cannot be articulated through the construct of language. My paintings are landscapes, yet they are also the results of a dialogue with my irrational, emotive subconscious mediated through contact with places in the natural world.
A large part of our identity, both personal and cultural, is contained in the landscape in which we live. The devastation wrought by the recent bushfires in Australia leaves us with a profound sense of loss: not only of lives and property but also loss of identity. To have that suddenly and violently taken away from us leaves us with feelings akin to a profound home sickness. We haven’t moved, and yet for many of us the landscape that was our home has disappeared, altered beyond recognition.
Matisse once said that he hoped his paintings would have the effect of a “good armchair on a tired businessman”. My work has a similar aim. It doesn’t set out to change the world, but it may help us to reconnect to the world as it is.