In his book ‘The Ecological Thought’, Professor Timothy Morton defines Ecology as “a vast sprawling mesh of interconnection without definitive center or edge. It is radical intimacy, coexistence with other beings sentient or otherwise.” It is the notion of this delicate web of connections, infused with interconnected life that has become the leading source of inspiration for my work. From space we have learned that the world is a complex, intricate system, melded together by atmosphere, ocean, land life and energy; a single thriving organism woven together with life. It is simultaneously one large Ecology while also being made up of multitudes of smaller Ecologies. Art is a place in our culture that deals with what is new, unspeakable and difficult to understand. Therefore art is the window through which this larger-than-life notion of infinite connectivity can be seen.
The primary concern of my artworks is to embrace the randomness and subtle chaotic energy of the natural world through colour/texture relationships. I like to think of them as moments of Ecology. Not in the environmental ‘save the turtles’ sense that is commonly assumed by the term, but rather in the bigger picture of interconnectedness that is laid out by Morton. The artworks themselves begin as points in time and space in which I came across a clashing of Ecologies, where elements of one intertwine with the other in a vibrant site of exchange. An example of this which I have recently worked with is the surface of water; the space in which a body of atmosphere meets a body of water, be it ocean, lake or puddle. The interaction between the two entities manifests through certain moments of kinetic exchange, erupting in the form of ripples, splashes, waves, spray etc. So when I am painting these moments I look at the physical processes that have come into play to create them, and mimic them within the studio. In doing this, the works have become a reflection of the natural processes and ever-evolving nature of the world; they reveal themselves during the process of being made, and the finished work is merely a consequence of the process it took to create it.
The cyanotype works in particular express this notion. Created with sunlight, sand, water and various other organic materials, they utilise fragments of the natural world as not just reference points, but as a physical collaborator and catalyst within the work. Working with such simple life-sourcing materials allows the work to exist fundamentally as an essence of itself, rather than as a conceptual representation of something else. Thus rendering the work simultaneously a cause and effect of the ecological mesh.