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Fictitious Spaces

I find myself in the final few weeks of my degree and I don’t think its quite sunken in yet. With my graduation ceremony cancelled and my final exhibition downscaled, I can’t help but feel slightly cheated out of my degree. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I’ve learnt so much and have developed as both an artist and an individual, but I still can’t shake the fact that there is no grand exhibition or large celebration at the end of it all.

I moved back into my studio in Aberystwyth last Friday and I’ve wasted no time getting stuck back in. As the weeks have gone on, my methodology has adapted and changed to suit my process, I began this semester painting from experiences and memories of specific locations and abstracting them with the aim of capturing an essence of and/or a feeling that could be associated with the specific location. These first few paintings were informed by a series of small ink studies in my sketchbook, gradually these ink studies became bigger and bigger which is what ultimately has helped inform my current large paintings.

In my last blog post I mentioned the idea of a trio of actions: a memory, the remembering the memory and the act of responding to the memory. Since writing that I have developed this idea further and it goes as follows…

A trinity of actions...

The original movement, space, or emotion.

The recollection of the movement, space, or emotion.

The act of responding to the movement space, space, or emotion.

A trinity of spaces (physical and mental space) …

The past space.

The space in which we recollect.

The space in which we respond, the studio and the canvas.

From abstracted locations to abstracted fictitious spaces, my current work aims to explore the concept of occupying space both on and off the canvas as well as both mentally and physically. Working with only a few elements, I aim to break up the space offered by my large canvases, in a way that is not only visually pleasing but that hopefully stirs something inside the viewer. My paintings aren’t a depiction anymore of a specific space but instead they have become depictions of fictitious spaces. Below is one of my current works in progress.

'Untitled', Oil on canvas, 5' x 5', 2021

Working with organic and geometrical shapes and lines this painting is trying to challenge the viewer and their perception of space. By illuding to a false sense of space and depth through the overlapping and interweaving shapes and marks this work aims to trick the eye.

I’m currently enjoying working with few elements as I’m finding the process of painting becomes more meditative; I’m forced to contemplate more and really take the time to think about what the composition will benefit from. At times it can feel like walking on a tight rope, one wrong move and you’ll fall to the ground: in terms of the painting and the process, one wrong mark and the painting risks losing all its integrity.

With only 2 weeks left till submission day I’m spending every day in the studio stood at my easel; whilst this time is proving to be stress inducing, there is also a big creative buzz within both mine and my fellow student’s studios. I’m very excited to see what everyone else’s work looks like by the end of the 2 weeks!

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