THERE IS BEAUTY YET (2014)

Nature and colour have always been defining elements of my world view; whether energetic or calm, subtle or flamboyant, the natural world commands my attention. The process of layering, staining and mark-making allows me to connect with the earth, to leave behind all that I know with my mind and dream anew.

Increasingly I have been preoccupied with the loss of people's connection with the earth and with one another. A denial of these relationships and histories limits our self-understanding and our capacity to be true to the best of our humanity.

The Mughal Emperor Akbar established the brick structure of the Lahore Fort about five hundred years ago. Once a thriving palace-complex testament to the rise and fall of different empires, it was richly decorated with natural and geometric forms. Visiting the structure today, it is the absence of life that strikes one now. This series is my personal response to finding pockets of beauty amongst the exposed brickwork and fading colours; it is a reflection of hope in the midst of neglect and an interpretation of what I saw where my shadow fell.

I used my earlier approach of staining and reclaiming layers in a very focused manner, with compositions tightly structured beneath the washes. Layers were built up with oil and gesso, deliberately disguised and subsequently transformed. By repeating this process, in every canvas, I paralleled and recreated the loss of the decorative and material elements in the Fort, the loss of a little more history.

Although there are glimpses of the powerful colours associated with my last solo exhibition (A Moment of Grace, 2010) the current work negotiates a more finely balanced palette; the finished pieces invite the viewer to have a closer look and enjoy a subtler aesthetic experience. By transforming the neglect I saw into something positive, I felt a sense of personal empowerment. Similarly, I would hope that by choosing to assimilate their past, people will be able to lay claim to a future worth having.

There is Beauty Yet
There’s a vase
In a bowl on some
Rocks curved like
Waves, with a spray
Flanked by shrubs
Greeting clouds
Around the edge
Of an arch cusped
To point under
Blooms placed in
Corners bound by
Border bound by
Border in a frame
Upon the wall
And the cypress in
The archway slim and
Tiered in painted
Glory bows her head
At curling foliage
At the dull and peeling
Plaster, wonders at
The pick pocked
Marble, all the layers
Spread before her
Bends her head a
Littlelower, but is
Undefeated still.