My early work was an exploration of the human condition, in particular looking at the emotional impact of infertility. I drew from images of Baroque furniture, developing ideas initially through drawing and printmaking. I integrated found objects, such as driftwood, chair legs, lamp shades with fabric and papier mache to create sculptural forms where the human form was represented by furniture. The juxtaposition of hard and soft materials recalled flesh on bone and was intended to convey human frailty. Many of the forms had a womb like quality which is still present in much of my current work.
Having left college I began to apply for public sculpture commissions. I learnt to weld and set up a bronze casting foundry with my sculptor husband. We spent the next few years creating work to a brief for specific public locations including three hospitals. I was undergoing IVF treatment during much of this time and this began to influence my work. Having spent endless years peering at dividing cells under a microscope I became obsessed with producing the perfect, evenly dividing embryo. I believe the routes of my current more geometric work derive from this period.
"Genesis" is a group of three sculptures I made for The Knockbreda Health and Care Centre in Castlereagh, Belfast. The pieces are based on early stage embryo forms which I used to represent growth and renewal. I love turning the microscopic into the monumental, giving forms a new life and identity. I find the processes of conception, growth, flux and evolution endlessly fascinating and seek to capture something of the wonder and power of nature in my artwork. Over the last few years I have broken free of the constraints of solely working in bronze and have started to use other materials such as Cor-ten steel, stainless steel, oak and mosaic. Working in metal enables me to make large outdoor pieces which interact with the spaces they inhabit. My work follows a tradition of sculptural object making where craftsmanship and hand finishing are important. I am interested in the repeated forms found within diverse natural elements, linking the microscopic with the monumental. I often use mathematics in the construction and planning of my forms. I do not seek to copy nature, rather to absorb, filter and create something new from the things I have seen and the experiences I have had. My intention is to create objects which are enigmatic and invite inquiry.
Four years ago I created some large iron resin forms based on pollen grains for an outdoor exhibition. The sculptures reminded me of sea mines; enticing but menacing at the same time. I like to be playful in my work and am drawn to quirkiness and the contradiction of these forms which could be read as either life creators or life destroyers resonated with me and has led to a new body of work which is represented by the photographs submitted.
I am currently exploring forms which are derived from botany and biology but fabricated using geometric shapes to create strange otherworldly objects which are reminiscent of munitions and spacecraft. I want to reflect some of the anxiety I feel about the times we live in and the uncertainty about the future. I am reminded of Pandora's Box, the lid has been opened and chaos has been unleashed. The unchecked rise and reach of social media means we live in a world where we must constantly question the sources of the information we receive and be alert to how social media can be manipulated to subvert democracy. My current work explores this state of increased suspicion and sense of the invisible enemy in our midst.
"Pollen Bomb, "Astropod" and "Space Flower" were all created using multiple triangular shapes and mathematical precision. They hint at infiltration, spyware, malware, bots and viruses. "Pollen Bomb" was based on a pollen grain form. Its size and use of rusted Cor-ten steel alludes to a sea mine and creates an air of menace. "Astropod" uses a similar format. It is based on a virus but the form has been mutated by extending the points gradually from one side to the other. This gives a sense of progression as in an opening flower bud. However, as the points are angular and sharp, they convey a more mechanical and sinister purpose. The pod like form has an open hatch with a camera shutter-like frame through which one can peer. "Space Flower" is a flower/pod like form, part exotic jungle flower and part space pod, reminiscent of a "transformer" with opening flaps through which the inside is revealed. It gives the impression that it will evolve through mathematical replication to become something else.