Bitumen paint, metaphor and the performance of self

‘time collapses and layers of life flow simultaneously into a mesh of memory and dream’         Eleanor AntinI ‘discovered’ bitumen paint in 2006. I wanted something black and cheap to paint a pram for an installation. Afterwards I started experimenting with it. Simply used for waterproofing sheds, it is dark, viscous, treacly, and smelly until dry. I discovered that when dripped from a stick it will create depth and when it is the right thickness or viscosity, it will spin and create beautiful patterns. Each line of bitumen dripped from a stick can be fluid and continuous creating unique curvilinear figures and forms. As the paint is dripped from a stick there is a lack of control, so as a process it involves chance and failure. There are always dribbles and mistakes and repetition or replication is impossible. Each mark is made by the body, hand to eye, and eye to hand. It is gestural and performative and no matter how good I get, there is an element of flow and failure in every repe…

Everyone loves a Chagall

Wedding Gift, 80x80cm, Delpha hudson 2019
June 1st is my 1st wedding anniversary with my husband Nigel. Each morning I am greeted by the sight of not only my beautiful husband but by Wedding Gift, the painting I made for him that hangs opposite our bed. In it we are flying above the cottages and the church tower in the village where we live, with a family tree of flowers (crimson, dark pink, royal blue and purple anemones), that bunch around abstracted family figures. The Chagallesque references in this painting are for my husband who loves Chagall and the something romantic in every day life that Chagall evokes.I recognise in Chagall’s work many things a relationship with about these religious and Renaissance paintings, as much as folk art. I feel, perhaps rather than understand, the balance of colours creating movement around the familiar and a composition that uses shapes and vegetal motifs to build a sense of flow around figures that don’t just float, they fly. In front of his pain…

Reflections on invention in domestic-history painting

‘The artist begs the public to be indulgent, because [s]he has neither imitated other works nor even used studies from nature. The imitation of nature is as difficult as it is admirable, if it is really perfect. But an artists may also, surely remove [herself] entirely from nature and depict forms of movements which to this day have only existed in the imagination…Painting, like poetry, selects from the universe whatever it considers most suitable for its purpose. ….Thanks to this creative combination the artist ceases to be a mere copyist and acquires the title of an inventor’ Francisco Goya (preface for Los Caprichos) -with gender change Goya’s words perfectly sums up the way in which it is possible for artist’s to capture something of everyday realities without sitting down to draw them mimetically. We all know how people look, how they move, what motivates them and the things they do every day. Domestic, caring and everyday acts make unusual ‘grand narratives’. Indeed housework and…