I-N-T-E-R-L-U-D-E (2024)


Introduction

I-N-T-E-R-L-U-D-E is a (sign)painterly series of digital and physical work which explores themes of legibility and memory. Rooted in my fascination with the limitations of language, the project echoes the elusive feeling of memories just out of reach.


Process

The work originates from letterforms painted with a sable hair paintbrush using traditional signwriting enamel paint. I enjoy the tactile nature of signwriting, with its physicality and imperfections. This palpable quality, revealing the human touch, is something I emphasised by using thick, slightly dry paint to show the brush bristles in the strokes.
 

Signwriting letterforms are constructed from a limited set of brushstrokes. I experimented, digitally and physically, with omitting certain strokes to test the limits of legibility—inviting viewers to engage in the reconstruction of something incomplete.



Continuing this painterly process, I used hand-pulled monotypes to create structural texture clouds from which the letters would emerge. For digital pieces these began life as a series of black prints which were repurposed as raw materials to be manipulated and coloured digitally.



Taking the analogue brushstrokes into the digital realm I found I could create further layers of ambiguity by using digital displacement maps of the monotypes themselves—smudging letters and adding a fog of uncertainty that seems to mirror the slippery nature of memories. This digital manipulation creates an in-between space, where analogue meets digital, where clarity and confusion intermingle.



The inspiration for this digital process came from me accidentally putting my elbow into letters I’d just painted with enamel paint. I liked the ‘ghosting’ effect.



I enjoy starting digital work in black and white and colourising them later. It creates a kind of dialogue between past and present, and I’ve also used the black and white elements to send out a small number of physical invites for this work. The colours were chosen intuitively and the digital works were later curated into two colour modes: Paper and Glass.


Background

Last year I spent a very strange day in Accident & Emergency (ER) with my Mum, who was experiencing an episode of transient global amnesia. For eight long hours she had forgotten most of the previous four or five years and couldn’t form new short-term memories. She’d forgotten that the Queen of England had died, that wars had started, that Covid had happened and that close friends had died. That day, as time stood still, Mum showed a strange innocence and a playful optimism.

This got me wondering how people might find themselves today if they could forget the impact of recent global events on their lives—if they could shed the weight of the last few years.

Combining memories and excerpts from that day in the hospital with insights gleaned from recent mental health research, I constructed narratives from my incomplete brushstrokes. Some of these are challenging to read, others less so.

The title I-N-T-E-R-L-U-D-E hopefully carries a positive undertone, symbolising a return to life’s rhythm after adversity. Whilst memories may linger in the spaces, these pieces can be deciphered when the viewer accepts the absence and reconnects.


This is an on-going series and release details are currently being sorted out. If you’d like advance notice, please add your email here.