It doesn’t feel right to volunteer specific examples of personal hardship without acknowledging how lucky and privileged I am in other respects. I think it’s safe to assume that everyone has experienced some form of upheaval, loss, fear or anger since Covid-19 spread globally and that the experience has influenced us in varying degrees of consciousness.
When I think about colour and form, I think about their perceptive capabilities. One hue, when surrounded by a colour, will appear different than when it is surrounded by another one. Within a single painting, one colour can dramatically change in appearance depending on its proximity to others. A form might include all of the attributes of a flower or plant – petals, leaves, stem —but what is it that we are actually looking at? It can only be the likeness of flora.
I visited a sunflower farm near Buffalo, New York, while my husband, daughter and I were visiting family last year. Nearing the end of the flowers’ season, many of the plants’ stalks had started to droop from the weight of their blossom. What was weird is how all of the sunflowers in the field were bent in the same direction, as if they were a population bowing toward some deity or in a gesture of collective, melancholic duress. More than the flower itself, I was interested in their signal, or what was being signified by the behaviour of these non-sentient lifeforms. What are they expressing? What we can assume or assign to their motivations that do not inevitably reflect or resemble our own biases. In my work, a ‘flower’s’ capacity to signal is contained, and limited by, a viewer’s preoccupation with what is familiar.