Such exciting news to share. I'm about to have this piece exhibited in Christie's New York! The piece is called Siberia - Irrational representation III. It is an etching with chine colle. Chine colle is like a form of collage, which is put through the press as it is being printed. It fuses with the print and it's almost impossible to tell that it was glued on. I love it as a technique, as I like to add hints of colour and form to my line images. This etching is a unique print. There is no limited edition, there is just one available!
It is part of a series of etchings exploring, landscape, cartography, symbolism and identity. I have been interested in the juxtaposition of how cartography changes to reflect shifting landmass and also human and animal movement across landscapes. Within my own family's history, my grandparents, Polish Jews, were taken to a hard labour camp in Siberia, where my grandmother at the age of 12 was sent to cut down trees, as her mother was too ill to do so. They eventually escaped by walking at night and hiding in the day time, surviving often on one potato a day. The family ended up in a displaced persons camp in Germany at the end of the war and now live in Philadelphia and New York mostly. This history - or herstory - forms a backbone to my work, addressing landscape and the stories and shifts imprinted into the fabric of the earth over time.
The exhibition is being put on by the Royal Drawing School, where I completed my MA diploma in drawing in 2007, and now work, teaching printmaking and drawing. Christie's says of the show; 'the Royal Drawing School’s US inaugural exhibition of drawings at Christie’s New York runs alongside Master Drawings Week New York 2016 and Christie’s Old Master and British Drawings sale. The selling exhibition of over 70 drawings by contemporary practicing artists will span three rooms and includes drawings from alumni, faculty and artists closely associated with the Royal Drawing School including Christopher Le Brun, President of the Royal Academy, Humphrey Ocean RA, Timothy Hyman RA, Catherine Goodman, Artistic Director of the Royal Drawing School, David Dawson, Ishbel Myerscough, Sarah Pickstone and Stuart Pearson Wright. '
Although I won't be going to New York for the exhibition myself, I'm hoping someone will take some pictures of my piece in the show for me!
If you are in New York and happen to see it, please let me know! : )
A full list of all the exhibiting artists below.
So said William Blake. Having recently moved to the Suffolk coast - I say moved, but I do still live half of the time in London - I have become so thankful for the peace and tranquility here. Thankful that I can take a walk on the beach in the golden hour and to soak up nature's offerings every day. Just this afternoon, I took Stanley down to the beach. We were the only souls there. The sky was cloudless and still. The sea was soft and grey. Bird formations drifted up effortlessly, catching the rising warm air before the sun went down. Even Stanley - a lurcher, whose usual raison d'être is to hunt down small furry things, stopped in stillness to watch the birds. A fishing boat glided silently into view. This is what happiness feels like, I thought.
I could feel my mind clearing out of all the noise and stress of ten years spent in the city and a clarity enlivening my mind and body. The William Blake line ran through my head...
I thought of the painting I had left in the studio, the small landscape. I began to feel clearer about its meaning and where I wanted to take this series. This work is more abstract than other paintings I have made, feels more like a distillation of earlier ideas. They are still very much in the prototype stage, but I feel eager to dig deeper and experiment over multiple canvasses.
For the last four years my studio has been at Whirled Arts in Forest hill. It was a small studio but I absolutely loved it. I chose it over studios that were slightly lighter and larger, as it had a large beech tree outside and as I was on the second floor, I could almost feel as though I was inhabiting its upper branches and was often eye to eye with the birds nesting or sheltering there. It looked out onto back gardens and terraced houses, where I would sketch as the seasons and colours changed. I have always found that drawing something in my immediate surrounding, whether it be the view from my window or an object, animal or person beside me, is the best way to coax myself to begin my work. I came up with this strategy after wasting many an hour 'tidying' my studio (putting all my paints in rainbow order) or checking my emails when I should have been working. Endless procrastination devices that my clever mind would come up with, to stop me from working.
Now, if I immediately take out my sketchbook and draw or paint the nearest thing to me - my energy changes and becomes stiller and more receptive to inspiration. As I'm drawing, ideas for my newest body of work will pop into my head. Often I'll start to hum. That's when I know I've done it, I'm in the flow.
During my working day, I would spend much time staring at this wonderful tree outside my studio window, observing the moving leaves and life within it. In hindsight, this should have nudged me into the realisation that I prefer living and working in the countryside, but I was determined than, that London was the only place that I could live and work. Then I studied for my PGCE, which was hard work, but I found the psychology and philosophy of pedagogy fascinating. I became a better teacher through doing it. But then I began to teach and teach and teach. And my work began to suffer. I had no time to make my work. I was busy helping others to realise their creative dreams. I tried to do too much at once and the inevitable happened. I crashed and burned.
When you have burnout, you have a chance to re-discover who you are and what you really need. I realised I needed time to dream and time to make my art as well as teaching. I didn't want to give up teaching altogether as it is actually very helpful for keeping my own creative juices going, but there must be enough time to realise the ideas this work can generate. I decided to stop my main teaching job and to rely on my other freelance work and my savings for a while, to get my health back and to make more art. Jo's parents decided to share the rent on our London flat with us, so that they could use it when they worked in London. I gave up my lovely Forest Hill studio and with the extra money, we rented a cottage in Suffolk by the sea. That's where I am now, typing these words. I haven't felt so peaceful in as long as I can remember. My studio is all set up now. Every morning I wake and can't wait to get started! We will live between London and Suffolk for now. I will run my art and creativity workshops in London and teach my printmaking and drawing workshops for the Royal Drawing school, and when I am in Suffolk I will make my artwork, eat good food and walk by the sea. I feel closer now, to that elusive balance, then in all my 10 years in London.