Pie Herring

When I am lost to the world, gazing at an object or a person, I often find that I am somewhat  unconsciously deciding how paint could translate my current field of vision. I catch myself questioning  how many colours actually make up this presumed brown table I am sat at, or which shade of blue  would perfectly capture that electric light bouncing from the curtains and onto my companion’s cheek.  


My paintings are primarily figurative with a preferred medium of oil paint. Oil paint has a tangible  consistency which can be manipulated to produce a multitude of textures, shades and forms. These qualities enable a boundless arena for exploration which I seek to determine in my own work. I do so by observing and fusing together various stylistic principles, in particular abstraction, realism  and deconstruction. I will elaborate further on these techniques throughout this statement as they  significantly inform my practice.  


Abstraction takes place from the onset, canvas is laid on the floor and by channelling my inner Pollock,  I energetically move around the material placing paint down using an array of instruments. These  include large brushes, rags, and sometimes even fallen tree branches. I use washes of turpentine to  erase areas, removing all paint to reveal once again the raw canvas. This process creates a backdrop  full of dynamic marks and heavily contrasting tones of colour. Such textures cannot be preconfigured,  the turpentine meanders organically and dries in an unpredictable fashion. The fibers in the rags and  brushes twist and pull the paint in erratic ways. It requires energy and movement from the artist to  manipulate oil paint in this way, and that excites me. 


Realism presents itself in the subject and narrative of my work. I am interested in the relationship  between abstracted forms and representative objects. The figural composition in each painting is always  considered in relation to the marks and textures which have been formed in the aforementioned process  of creating the backdrop. How can I create an interesting bond between the two contrasting aesthetics?  


Much of my work depict scenes which have been aesthetically deconstructed. A person may be missing  an arm, a section of her face or the object which she is seen to be clutching. I am interested in how the  subtraction of information can create focal points and obscure the foreground/background dynamic.  These aesthical decisions are not pre-considered, they take place whilst sketching the composition  directly onto the canvas. For this reason the deconstructed process becomes a battle of intuition, why  leave this and not that? I try to not over-analyse and let the viewer fill in the gaps.  


The narrative of the work reflects human and societal issues. I must spend time with the people that  I paint. I wish to hear their story and witness their relationships and behaviours. I need to be able  to understand how paint can best be used to reflect their circumstances and their character. I place  myself in unfamiliar landscapes in the hope that the environment will feed into my work.