This body of works by Ffiona Lewis is a collection of moments.
Paintings that have been inspired by the trace elements and memories of her everyday the end of meals and the passing glances while on her road, man's interventions into the natural world. She takes pains to add her own mark to the everyday, drawing the viewer into a quiet, contemplative space.
A central motif in her still life work is the awareness of how things sit together after they've been interfered with. Random geometry created by chance. It is not the food or the place settings that intrigue her, but the abandoned disorder left in the diners' wake. In notebooks, on tablecloths and on napkins that smudge and run, she makes doodles recording the arrangements left by the ritual of eating.
' . . . I do a lot of drawing of the same thing, building up huge contact sheets of thumbnail sketchesâ¦ It's about collecting a vocabulary to help me paint that object. It evolves into what I think that object meant, or the original glimpse I had of it . . . compare this process, whereby something becomes increasingly abstracted, to 'ripening' or 'Chinese whispers' . . . Only when a distilled and simplified composition possesses its own rhythm and movement do I transfer it to board and begin to paint.'
She works on several canvases at a time, only using brushes to apply generous dollops of paint and then preferring to push and manipulate the paint around the canvas with scrapers.
'A painting will have its finished layer, but underneath that there'll be four or five other ghost-paintingsâ¦ I scrape back until I get to the point where I can't see what the painting is anymore. I almost have to destroy it in order to start againâ¦ This process of repeatedly scraping away, distressing and layering paint to perfect an economy of form produces the âhappy accidents' that I aim for in my work.'
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