Ghost Story sits in an ambiguous space. Plumes of smoke merge into the forest canopy, blurring trees with sky. Sparks rise in the foreground- is it a cosy campfire or creeping wildfire? This painting is inspired by memories of home; as a child, sitting round the campfire with family, telling ghost stories in the redwood forests of Northern California. These memories merge with recent memories of going home only to find my familiar woods unrecognisable. There was not a place we visited that was untouched by burn, and our plans continually changed to escape the smoke. The sky was hazy most days, with the sun casting an eerie orange glow behind grey clouds.
Skies and trees are ongoing themes in my work. Skies are about transience as well as a certain presence in the moment. They are also a part of a wider concern with the environment, impacted by experiences of home. I am also interested in the meditative aspect of skies and their emotional range, as well as the ambiguity between sunrise or sunset/ beginning or end.
Trees, on the other hand are anthropomorphic figures which tell a story of steady resilience. Tree stumps are headless figures; embodiments of disruption, but also places where life quietly thrives. Trees elicit memories of home and act as markers to time. As one who often feels lost between place, trees represent an aspire for rootedness.
Ghost Story was recently exhibited in Material Presence, a group exhibition of painters from the Turps Correspondence Course 21-22 at Fitzrovia Gallery, London.