As an artist I work in many mediums, but am particularly drawn to egg tempera, a beautifully silk-like medium, which proves, despite its antiquity, its provenance as a contemporary process. Egg tempera is a medium in which the paint is smoothly applied in very thin glazes, which offers the possibility of creating a sense of delicacy, transparency and lustre. I enjoy highlighting objects that may not always appear to be typical subjects for such arrangements. I love the process of slowly layering paint to create an impression of the depth and texture of the objects, creating unexpected encounters, being true to contemporary sensibilities.
I selected a single size (20cm square) for a recent body of works, images expressly created for my final Fine Art degree show this summer, developing a range of experimental themes, using the egg tempera medium and playing with the surfaces on which the work is located. There is an element of surprise in the conception, placement and realisation of each subject. Using the egg tempera medium offers a delicacy to even the most robust subject. My works painted on gessoed boards highlight the true beauty of the layering process and illusion of texture created through the use of egg tempera is evident, recording as if demonstrating the simplicity and affection for this medium, so ancient and so contemporary at the same time.
My three works in the exhibition (one in the main exhibition and all three on-line), are what I have termed ‘pet profiles’. These formed an element of the final degree show and this short series draws here on the concept of reflection. Throughout my life I have been a reflective practitioner, where I see the process of reflection giving me a new perspective on the issues facing myself and others. It is a personal process, enabling me to make sense of my experiences through a looking back, a looking sideways or as if looking in a mirror, seeing afresh what has been created or achieved and learning from this. Reflecting has been particularly important as this year’s unique challenges have needed resilience and a clear understanding of self to enable you to cope.
In the three pet profiles the images are reflections of each other, artistically challenging in themselves to reproduce exactly the image in reverse. Ironically pets cannot recognise their own reflections and, if they react at all, it is as if they are seeing a rival, a challenger. This can be seen as a metaphor for our own situations, but we can know the reflections for what they tell us about our actions, helping us to move forward, wiser and better equipped to face uncertainty.
In using egg tempera, this traditional practice, there is a quality to the medium which produces a sense of meditation, a tranquility which often belies the subjects and creates a sense of those unexpected encounters which audiences seem to appreciate through its use. In this way, I argue the work is truly contemporary.
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