PROJECT 2020: Pandemic Landscapes

Pandemic Landscapes is work I have created during the Covid-19 pandemic beginning in February 2020.

The environment and painting and drawing outdoors is at the heart of my practice. Working outside is dynamic, opening up new ways of seeing and requiring spontaneity and experimentation. It roots my practice in nature and informs what I do in the studio.

At the start of lockdown I set up a small studio in my flat. From here I began to work on paintings and collages. Imagined landscapes emerged as did interiors from the books I was reading (The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson). I used materials I could find for collage, magazines, stationary, unfinished paintings. In the first months of lockdown this was the beginning of my Pandemic Imaginary.

In new surroundings, my work started to change. I began using the windows in my flat as a painting surface creating larger work than I had for a long time. The videos I made of this process mapped the new ‘borderland’ that the windows represented.

During the spring and summer months I started working in our shared tenement garden which was a revelation. Quiet and unused, it had become a bird filled sanctuary. where I worked almost every day. Later I got on my bike and travelled further in Edinburgh to Bonaly Country Park and then onto Fife and The Borders. When our studios finally opened again I began to work on larger paintings and collaged objects. My thoughts have never been far from the unfolding, extraordinary ruptures of 2020.

Our strange new life is precarious and uncertain.  However there is also the possibility of positive change. We see that we can live with less and more simply. In the absence of humans, nature recovers and thrives. But the fault-lines have never been clearer. Can we can grasp this moment of change?

I am haunted by the potential of materials and making, to help unravel and discover shared hopes and dreams, our common humanity. This is the hope of my Pandemic Landscapes.