My work attempts to make palpable the psychological gap between the world that we physically experience and the psychological states through which it is apprehended. I achieve this by painting from staged tableaux: either photographed and rendered in a hyper-realistic style, or painted directly from miniature still-life sets. My interest lies escapist communities, particularly those who engage both in the physical and digital worlds. This manifests in portraits of youth subcultures, Asian otaku (geek) culture, and the fantasy worlds of computer games. Yet within this, there remains a direct reference to historical utopian visions and their continued relevance. My work is rooted in the tradition of painting; signifiers are taken from historical works of art, sources and themes. However, these are suggested through the appropriation of composition, gestures or objects, in an attempt to grasp the continued relevance of painting and its ability to communicate within the prevalence of digital media.

Within the paintings, the hyper-realistic aspect of my technique allows me to play with the viewer’s notions of reality, drawing them into certain details embellished from the overriding narrative. The result is a two-dimensional environment, which is created by tiny iridescent brushstrokes. This handmade, yet effectively computer-like appearance, allows the viewer to literally step inside the paint pixels. Though rooted in the archaic practice of painting, the work is concerned with opening up the possibilities that exist at the juncture between painting and digital media. Painting's continued presence highlights a society on the cusp: actively embracing and making the best use of digital technology but not ready to relinquish more traditional means of production. Though painting could be seen as a reaction to the proliferation of digital technologies, however; my paintings actively embrace this immersivity to the point of excess. For the communities I represent, immersion into the virtual is not sufficient, and instead their preference is towards the physical realm where they can manipulate and engage more tangibly.

As a painter, my intention is to create fantastical immersive worlds. These worlds exist both in the real and in the imagination: whether the sanctuary of a teenage bedroom, a cosplayer manipulating the urban environment, or a scaled diorama incorporating Asian Ball-jointed dolls and their paraphernalia, these spaces have a life and represent a select individual’s position within the wider society. I attempt to document the obsessions of a generation who wishes to believe in utopia, but suffers from the knowledge of its decline. Immersed in gaming culture or social networking, the work portrays individuals that find acceptance and esteem in like-minded communities. Within these communities they attempt to create their own ideal society. Their depiction within my work offers the subjects the opportunity to leave their own statement and exist for eternity. The works form part of a broader conceptual examination of the resonance between the cult of the individual and anonymity in today’s media saturated world.


CV

Born, lives and works in Manchester, UK.  Co-founder and director of PAPER gallery.

Education:

2010-14:     Graduate Teaching Assistantship with PhD, University of Salford
2008-10:    Master of Fine Art, Liverpool John Moores University
1993-96:     BA (Hons) Fine Art, Manchester Metropolitan University

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

2015:           Cosplay, Ruskin Gallery, Cambridge
2015:           Cosplay, Howarth Art Centre, Livingston
2014:           Cosplay, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe
2013:           Cosplay, Wolverhampton Art Gallery
2013:           Cosplay, Touchstones, Rochdale
2011:            Time to Pretend, Hub, Manchester
2010:           Game, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe
2008:          That’s Not My Name, The Agency, London
2007:          How Can Someone so Young Sing Words So Sad, Transit, Mechelen, Belgium
2006:          Who Will Eat my Sadness, The Agency, London
2005:          The Beautiful People, The City Gallery, Leicester
2004:          Jane Says…, Cooper Gallery, Barnsley
2003:          The Beautiful People, Comme Ca Gallery, New York, USA
2003:          The Beautiful People, Kirkby Gallery, Kirkby Liverpool
2003:          The Beautiful People, The Storey Gallery, Lancaster
2002:          The Beautiful People, DDM Warehouse, Shanghai, China
2002:          The Beautiful People, Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax
2001:           The Beautiful People, View 2 Gallery, Liverpool
2001:           The Beautiful People, Chorlton Mill Gallery, Manchester
2000:          The Beautiful People, Cartwright Hall, Bradford
2000:          The Horrible People, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
1998:           The Beautiful People, Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby
1997:            Princess Leia was my first Kiss, Phillips Contemporary Art, Manchester

Selected Group Exhibitions:


2016:           Into the Deep Woods, Leo 15, Lucerne & PAPER
2016:           Semiotic Guerrilla Warfare pt III, Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax
2015:           P, Horatio Junior, London
2015:           Semiotic Guerrilla Warfare pt I, PAPER, Manchester
2014:           A Union of Voice, Horatio Junior, London
2014:           Snow in Summer, Peek-a-boo Gallery, Perth, Australia
2014:           Manchester Connexions, The New School House Gallery, York
2014:           ID, Hanmi Gallery, London
2014:           Far Lands, Millenium Galleries, Sheffield
2014:           Human Clay Revisited, The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber
2012:           Polemically Small, Orleans House Musem, London
2011:            Polemically Small, Charlie Smith, London
2011:            In Safekeeping, The New Schoolhouse Gallery, York
2011:            Future Can’t Wait, Torrance Art Museum, California
2011:            Citizen, TactileBosch, Cardiff
2011:            Marmite Painting Prize III, Lanchester Gallery, Coventry & The Nunnery, London
2010:           Marmite Painting Prize III, Central Gallery, Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester
2010:           This is England, The Aubin Gallery, London & Galleria Uno+Uno, Milan, Italy
2010:           Anti Design Festival, London/Newcastle Space, London
2010:           Salon 8, Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong
2009:          The Lure & The Seducer, Galleri Christoffer Egelund, Copenhagen, Denmark
2009:          Connexions, Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark
2009:          Karma-1, Gallery 44a, Istanbul, Turkey
2008:          The Future Can Wait II (curated by Ellis & Rumley) Truman’s Brewery, London
2008:          Kapellmeister pulls a Doozy, Seven Seven Gallery, London
2008:          The Past is History (curated by Ellis & Rumley) Changing Role, Naples & Rome, Italy
2008:          The New London School (curated by Ellis, Rumley & Max Presneil), Mark Moore, LA, USA
2007:           Teenage Kicks (curated by Melanie Moreau), Vegas Gallery, London
2007:           The Future Can Wait, (curated by Ellis & Rumley) Truman’s Brewery, London
2006:           I-POD Killed the Video Star (curated by Ken Pratt), Showroomama, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2006:           I Ain’t No Yesterday’s News, Gallery Likovni Krug , Exitfest, Serbia & Tour
2005:           Portreto Formate, ARKA Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania & Tour
2005:           Children of the Grave- Masters of Reality (with Ross Sinclair), The Agency London
2005:           Young Masters, (curated by Flora Fairburn), Art Fortnight London
2005:           Hand in Hand we Walk Alone, Clapham Art Gallery
2004:           Forever Beautiful, Clapham Art Gallery, London
2003:           Thermo 03, The Lowry, Manchester
2002:           A Word from our Sponsors, Liverpool Biennial Independents 02
2002:           Perverse Pop, Catto Contemporary, London
2002:           The Battle for Realism, (curated by James Hyman) Inside Space, Selfridges, London
2001:            BP Portrait Award 2001, National Portrait Gallery, London
2000:           Inferno, LMN Project, Guildhall, Newcastle
2000:           BP Portrait Award 2000, National Portrait Gallery, London
1999:            John Moores 21, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
1996:            Northern Graduates, Royal College of Art, London

Self-curated Group Shows:

2012:            Digital Romantics, Dean Clough, Halifax & Aubin Gallery, London
2007:           Fantasising Fairies, 501 Art Space, Chongqing
2007:           Faith, Dean Clough, Halifax & Gallery Primo Alonso
2006:           I’ll Be Your Mirror, Liverpool Biennial Independents 06 & Gallery Primo Alonso, London
2006:           Jerusalem, Dean Clough, Halifax
2006:          Manchester, So Much to Answer For, Warsaw Projects, Manchester
2004:          Le Petit Paysage, Liverpool Biennial Independents 04 & Comme Ca, Manchester
2004:          We Didn’t Mean to be Bad Kids, TV Made Us Do It, Warrington Museum & Art Gallery,           
                    Hertfordshire University, St Albans & Collins Gallery, Glasgow
2002:          I’ll be your Mirror, Warsaw Projects, Manchester

Live Art Performances
Collaborative performance with Yingmei Duan

2011:            Once Upon a Time, BS Visite, Braunschweig, Germany
2010:           Pathological Aesthetics, Performance festival and Symposium at University of Applied Sciences Nijmegen, Netherlands
2009:          Dreams, at Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, UK

Awards:

2010:           Arts Council Development Grant
2007:          British Council CtC Development Grant
2002:          British Council for DDM Warehouse Residency
2002:          Shortlisted for BOC Emerging Artist Award 2002
2001:           City Life’sVisual Arts Exhibition of the Year 2001
2001:           Shortlisted for Fresh Artist 2001 Award
2001:           Northwest Arts Board- Individual Artists Award
2001:           Commended in BP Portrait Award
1998:           Northwest Arts Board- Individual Artists Award

Residencies:

2011:           York Theatre Royal
2007:         501Art Space, Chongqing, China
2004:         Pyramid Arts Centre, Warrington
2002:         DDM Warehouse, Shanghai, China
1998:          Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Others Projects:

2012:          Co-Founded PAPER, Manchester
2009:         Established Mirabel Studios, Manchester
2008:         Co-Founded ‘Art Group’, a peer group of Manchester-based Artists
2002-4:     Established and curated Warsaw Projects @ Open Art Studios, Manchester offering emerging artists their first solo exhibition
2005:         Published the artists books ‘A Cure for Everything’ & ‘Lost Beneath the Waves’ by Brya Weths