If I had to identify any single unifying theme or impulse in my work, it would be surprise or whimsy. I continue to make things in the hope of discovering something surprising or revelatory in what are often very ordinary materials and objects, perhaps even revealing a lyrical quality. Trying to release an object’s or medium’s imaginative potential is always a prime and overarching concern, and I’ve resisted any tendency towards categorisation. I’ve admired these qualities in the work of other artists, and touchstones would be Arte Povera (especially Penone and Pistoletto), Gabriel Orozco, Paul Klee, Evan Holloway and Sigmar Polke.
My work isn’t media-specific.At various points I have made pieces using kitchen scourers, scale model trains, bottles, postcards, used envelopes and dried pulses; at the same time, I have also worked with traditional materials and employed traditional processes – fired ceramics, tapestry, plaster cast, etching and monoprint – as well as reviving less familiar practices such as the light-stencilled photogram.
All of the underlying concerns and preoccupations of any artist’s life mean that recurring themes are of course inevitable. However, I’m less interested in exploring ideas of originality and authenticity, than with trying to give new shape to the familiar and everyday object so that it forces the viewer to look at it afresh, and with a renewed sense of wonder. I’m interested in affirming both the tactile presence of a thing in the world, and also with renewing the contract with objects that are alive to us during early life, and that is manifest in what are termed ‘primitive’ societies. To be doing this now, in an age of disassociation with and estrangement from the physical and sensual, seems to me to be a worthwhile project.