I have an MA in History and also in Fine Art. I work to commission, teach, work on public engagement and community projects, and run Oxford Summer School, a week of affordable arts and crafts classes.
My inspiration comes from collections; from the priceless cultural or natural history museum collections, to those of the eccentric 'collectaholic' accumulating vast assemblages of memorabilia. In examining the museological processes of collection, organisation, restoration and display, I assume the role of the curator 'unbinding' and 'rebinding' objects or text to construct new narratives and connections. Employing a cross disciplinary practice, I mix the analogue with the digital, collage, illustration, taxidermy, photography and sound to builds ‘installations’ which reimagine, reorder and juxtapose the past and present, cultures, classes, genders and race. Much of my work focuses on the eighteenth-century, the 'Age of Enlightenment’, a period when reason and scientific proof displaced the authority of the church and state and where early scientists attempted to organise the world; collating animals, vegetables and minerals into hierarchies and family groups while the public wondered at such magnificent ‘curiosities’ and ‘exotics’.
Working from my narrowboat, I am researching for a PhD in Fine Art. My starting point is an eighteenth-century system of botanical taxonomy which described flower structures in terms of the human body, and aligned plant reproduction with the marriage bed. Combining histories of science, medicine, social and gender history, I will be presenting new work which demonstrates the symbiotic and synergistic relationship between the object, the document and the archive and envisages the social implications of this system for elite women wishing to study plants.
Historically a 'Cabinet of Curiosity' contained a collection of objects which refused to fit into any recognised system of taxonomy. It was a display of the wealth and education of the collector, found within the home and constantly rearranged to inspire awe and wonder.
Today, with increased mobility, technology and globalisation, the world has shrunk and we are able to place objects within a familiar context; their power to seduce and amaze is diminished, yet we still seek out the curious and unfamiliar whether to display in our homes, or within online Pinterest galleries.
In curating my own archive, I concentrate on the museological practices of collection, categorisation, repair and display in which the modest, mundane, imperfect or impermanent is celebrated. Notions of value and preservation are accentuated by using traditional techniques such as the Japanese craft of Kintsugi, the Egyptian process of mummification or the Victorian art of taxidermy. Connections between times, materials and culture are merged to provoke a sense of unexpected fascination and to create a story.
Meticulous cataloguing systems, codes and phonetic symbols are utilised which position objects according to a multiplicity of characteristics, new sub-classes are created, connections overlap and curious juxtapositions occur. I seek to balance the familiar with the unexplained, the real with the imagined, to create something simultaneously small and intimate whilst also striking and impressive, something both beautiful and rough, something serious yet absurd.
For further information please contact me.