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Substrate Series 2018

Substrate series, 2018. Works in oil, thread, cold wax and plaster of paris bandage on canvas.


I am interested in the dynamic combination of paint, canvas and textiles as a means to capture the entropic interplay of structure and geometry that compose the substrate of our world. I have been exploring this theme in my practice, building towards this ‘Substrate’ series.


A Substrate is an underlying layer, a support on which a structure or organism sits. It supports and sustains the work, but it also constraints and limits it, setting boundaries beyond which the work cannot extend. Substrates are implicit and unobserved frameworks - they are the parents, the families, the social mores and cultural norms which support, but constrain the society we live in.


Substrates exist in tension with the work they support. The work struggles to transcend its substrate, but it is ultimately bounded and limited by it. To go beyond our substrate is to leap into the void. The Substrate supports us, but it also protects us from the chaotic, the organic, the unsafe forces of nature. The Substrate is our cage, while it protects us from what is outside, in doing so, it also protects what is outside from us.


The work in this series utilises abstract forms to express to the continual interplay between order and disorder, control and chaos. Form and order underpin our world, and are reflected in the frameworks and regularity of our constructed environments, our streets, our buildings, our homes. These forms and substrates exist in tension with their environment, they fray and strain in conflict with deeper patterns of uncertainty and decay, both from the world around them and from we who inhabit them.


My work juxtaposes traditional textile methods and materials with contemporary painterly elements and colours. The work is informed by the minimalism of Agnes Martin and the hard edged painting style of Joseph Albers and Ellsworth Kelly, and references the structured forms of Callum Innes. Contrasting colours in the work define boundaries of tension, hard edged fractures, interacting with the regularity of the threadwork. The work expresses textural contrast between the fluidity and dynamism of oil paint and cold wax, and the rigidity and structure of plaster of paris bandage and texture paste.


The ‘Substrate’ series expresses these implicit tensions of contemporary life, where the modern, the structured exists in constant struggle with the fluid and the natural. Support, containment and safety exist in tension with freedom, exploration and disorder.

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