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The sea, as an element, always unsettles me with its ceaseless restlessness. Born near the harbour of Durban – and now living near the harbour of Cape Town – I have always watched ships moving people and things in and out of these port cities. This medium of transport, like painting, seems to be outright old worldly. Is it to do with the cargo? Human trafficking and the insatiable trade in goods still traverse the world this way.
Encountering Malevich’s White on White as a student made me wonder if painting had reached an end point. Yet for me, the depths and distortions of Bacon and Schiele offer a means to navigate life’s anxieties, while Cy Twombly’s abstractions call me into transcendence. Film activates this viscerality with light and movement. I use both mediums of painting and film as a language to contend with expression.
With virtual reality painting goggles and 4D printing, to paint on canvas seems positively old fashioned, even archaic. Am I trying, with this medium, to create a tangible reality, to put my finger (fingerprint) on a world made slippery by digital media?
I’m interested in cruelty and compassion, or, to put it in another way: in beauty and violence, which never seem far apart. I am grappling to understand what never seems to change in homo sapiens – our paradoxical ability to create and destroy.
The bodies of work are often a synthesis of deep research - whether it’s the global oceanic trade with its traces of slave economies or the Phoenix-like fierce beauty of women’s bodies upon which violence is so often enacted upon. The journey takes me from text to paper to film to canvas. I distil and offer up. What remains on the canvas? A single pigment, a gesture of an arm, a palm frond. I’m left wondering what is distilled and how much resonance this distillation offers.