Following the V &A retrospective exhibition of the work of fashion designer Alexander McQueen, I became more interested in his work and subsequently attended a play about his life. During the intermission, as everyone was buying drinks at the bar, I noticed the cloth like shape of the till receipt cascading over the bar, moving and turning in space. The thinness enabled it to virtually disappear in places, like a thread that might easily be cut, yet it continued a steady, graceful decent. The designer made me see the beauty of its silhouette, which seemed to symbolise the fragility of life and the tragedy of his suicide.
As I began to sketch and paint the receipt, I wanted to express the many connections I made to the form of it and all that it began to symbolise.
Ultimately, a series of paintings and watercolours, using metallic paints, allowed me to explore a number of connections to the subject, such as the commercial demands of the fashion industry and the reflection of a life entangled in it. I wanted to carve the movement of the form and the space of the painting out of thread-like paint strokes and stitches, as if creating a new textile in the process. Evenly spaced lines simultaneously began to mimic the endless entries of text on the receipt, as I also wanted to express the energy
The thread-like lines represent both fragility and strength as they work to joins elements together.
I felt there was always a point in the composition where the receipt should appear thin and nearly disappear. All the studies were fabrications of my memory as I kept exploring the composition.
A final exploration of the subject was a series of seven paintings in silver and steel paint which went from light to dark, referencing the way that all things appear and disappear over time and the way memory can be a catalyst for new possibilities.
These works were all exhibited at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, as part of the Dulwich Festival, 2017