“Cast on 30 stitches. 1st row: knit. 2nd row: purl. Continue for 38 rows. Draw and manipulate thread by hand and eye in virtual space. Turn and twist through space until the final one thousand, one hundred and fortieth stitch. Knit grass and daisies and rusting metal wire; undulating colour field, contemporary chain mail. Illuminated knit, eclipsed purl.”
Aspects of mathematics, patterning and layering have been a source of fascination and visual sustenance throughout my years of practice. Through system and order the disparate and unsuspected can be revealed. Mistakes are immediately apparent. I am forced to pay attention to them, to consider them, perhaps to use them and essentially I am forced to acknowledge my own human fallibility. I acknowledge the digital as commonplace but if I construct a wireframe within a three dimensional modelling program, what exactly am I doing? I believe that I am drawing. I know that I am not painting, sculpting, printmaking, filming – perhaps I’m not even making – but I am drawing. The experience and knowledge derived from earlier practice in the material world informs my thinking and working procedures (quite often constraining them) but those decisions regarding what I do and what I do next are governed primarily by my experience as a drawer. My projections or conjectures with regard to the intangible stem from an awareness of the tangible and those of the invisible from an awareness of the visible and vice versa. I am interested in rethinking the position of the viewer and the viewed. Can I see differently? I am on the outside looking in – I can imagine the unseen but within the virtual environment I can see from the inside – out. I am using the computer to do something, which it can do and I cannot. I can move around, by means of a virtual camera, within a virtual space. The camera becomes my eye. Photographic imagery, hand drawn mark using Wacom pen or graphite and mapping within three dimensional modelling are my modus operandi. I construct a fictional place or site – an arena wherein I am free to exploit the possibilities of construction and making without the consequences of physical probability. Objects in this space disturb my conventional sense of order in space and extend the domain of possibility. The images which result as a consequence of these manoeuvres create a subtly discordant awkwardness. The locating of objects and the mapping, stretching, shrinking, or tiling of the chosen media causes new versions of fictional reality to emerge with each attempt.
I learnt to knit with wool when I was five years old. It was probably at the same time that I started to draw or at least to consciously deploy a pencil on paper. Pieces of paper covered with seemingly endless grey to black line appeared – scribbles? I didn’t think so then and I don’t think so now. Many years later I realised the connection between the knitted line and the drawn line. A piece of knitting is a single thread, a line, ordered through three dimensional space. In making a mark on paper with a graphite pencil, I am adding physical matter to that surface. The tracery of intersecting or rather overlaid graphite lines on paper is rather like a kind of flattened-out spaghetti junction – an aerial view. Line passes over previously laid line – three dimensions compress to two dimensions. A woollen jumper is made from shaped sheets of woollen line. The line or yarn has three-dimensionality – we all wear drawings! Since 1990 I have been trying to knit within computing space. The knits and purls are the result of many and varying attempts where a single linear wireframe is manipulated within this three dimensional workspace. In recent work the knit or purl mesh (as viewed from either the front or the back of the knitted sample) is mapped with imagery taken from the natural world; poppy, cornflower, daisy and more recently the oxidisation of copper and steel. The pieces are considered in the context of field painting. I can bend and distort the geometry of the individual mesh thus echoing the undulation of geological terrain and map accordingly. A field of poppies or cornflowers emerges.
The drawings explore the ambivalent nature of our experience of reality in that they comment on time past in relation to time present in order that there may be a time future. They reference natural form and order and our accountability as makers or manipulators within the world. They comment on the need for global attention to principles of balance reminding us that whilst we embrace new technologies, we should also be mindful of the balance of nature.