At the beginning of 2020 I was working on a series of paintings of infants dreaming. My studio table was still covered with mementos of a recent trip to Japan: origami storks, photographs, fabrics and next to them, a box of white shells, sea mice and urchins which I’d collected over the years. Then came Lockdown.
Not much changed for me, I was happy in companionable isolation and I felt like the hermit crab who was stretching into the back of the right shell at the right time. The mainstream media was trying to foster a Blitz spirit of sorts by telling us that we were all in the same boat while on Twitter someone finding it tougher had countered ‘same storm, different boat!’. This exhibition was born from that remark.
The urchin vessels were initially set on a sea taken from a woodcut by Matzao Kayama that had been the background in the ’Baby Dreaming’ series just weeks previously. Later, and on a far larger scale, I used Mori Yuzon’s Hamonshū wave and ripple drawings as a starting point.
For months I was totally focussed on painting, working long days uninterrupted by outside demands or appointments. The evenings were filled with reading, stitching sashiko panels and by deep dives into Instagram feeds, during one of which I found new-to-me paintings by Domenico Gnoli. And so, for lack of going out, my evenings and home life started to feed back into my work. The later paintings are after Gnoli’s ‘Bed’; my raft of sorts.’
Different Boats slide show with information on all the paintings.