'At the base of all my work over the years there has been a grid of some sort. Some absolute impartial structure from which I built out. A few years ago, I thought, instead of considering the grid as underpinning, I should look at the grid face to face, putting it centre stage. This simple shift of emphasis has brought me through very interesting territory'
I started out working with Indian ink on card and then acrylic on Yupo paper where I extruded the paint using icing tools. A breakthrough came when I started building grids in an unstructured way: placing squares and rectilinear shapes randomly on a field, either floating singly or in small groupings - all independent entities. I would then start the process of connecting and pulling these into an ordered grid. In doing this, distortions occur as the grid establishes itself. I became fascinated with these emerging images whose existence was the result of a collection of random events. These are images over which I have little control. This idea is fundamental to my way of working. It suits my desire to allow the painting to have autonomy. I don't want to dominate the process, I want a partnership.
While I want the paintings to be open to different readings and responses, ideas around the compromise and accommodation necessary in the creation of a unified whole, permeate the work. To me they map that which is needed in the achievement of a unified whole, with the necessary twists and turns and compromises, the stretching to meet, the locking together, the beauty of the accommodation. They are also about a paint language that can articulate these thoughts in a vital and engaging way.
The paintings in this exhibition follow on from a large commission that was in development over the past couple of years. Commissioned by IPUT Real Estate, Liffey Grid is a 4x10 metre gate, in three sections, forming the entrance to the new Tropical Fruit Warehouse development on Sir John Rogerson's Quay. Executed in vitreous enamel on interlocking steel panels, engineering demanded that I move away from earlier loose, organic grids into more formal, simple structures, while maintaining the core random element. These new paintings are a direct development from where I found myself in this project.