At times we think we know ourselves in time, when all we know is a sequence of fixations in the spaces of the being’s stability – a being who does not want to melt away, and who, even in the past, when he sets out in search of things past, wants time to “suspend” its flight. In its countless alveoli space contains compressed time. That is what space is for.

-Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space


This work investigates the folding and entanglement of forms, around which my internalisation pushes the composition of the painting forward. Carried out over a period of four months, the painting is a space that has been consistently revisited and reworked, threading together several strands of thought. Throughout this time, all of the different states of the painting have been photographed at 15-minute intervals and with a frame that follows my own focus as it shifts around the painting. In leafing through the book, the sequential unfolding of the painting’s structures and overall composition allows for the dwelling to be re-projected.

The subject matter within the painting stems from the contemplation of different types of structures enfolding one another; including architecture (vaulted ceilings, arches, windows, rafters, bricks, pillars and stairs), mushroom gills, petrified wood, a forest edge, insects, stones, wood grain, rock formations, skulls, stalactites, and close-up images of seeds – all of which derive from the mass collection of imagery that I have gathered throughout this project.

Within this project, colour has been a significant part of the way that I explore the association between forms, providing the structure from which the painting’s composition develops. The colour palette of this work is drawn from the colouring of petrified wood in The Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, whose broad range of colours sit tightly together. This painting explores these colour associations through the use of several different methods, including the traditional European technique of glazing.

July - November 2016
Acrylic and oil on canvas
300 x 160 cm

In the petrification process of wood, the organic material is replaced cell by cell with various minerals, which preserve the original structure of the wood – down to every fibre within it – so that it becomes a mass of very different types of materials of different colours but that sit together cohesively as a remnant of that piece of wood. There is an underlying structure that slowly gets overturned bit by bit to become something else entirely, but not without a trace – the structure allows for cohesion. It is following a pattern from which it differentiates, but it does so in a way that contains information about its past – it holds memory.