Painting – then being forced to repaint – a couple of dozen large, hard-edged enamels last year took its toll on me. The muscle-numbing, close-quarters brushwork and tedious hours spent hunched over two metre wide frames, not to mention the lung-searing toxicity of the paint, left me physically and emotionally drained. I needed to do something – anything – else for a while.
I've missed the intimacy and looseness of other media. I've missed making things without knowing exactly what they'll look like once they're done. The more immediate connection between emotion and action, especially in my works on paper, are a balm for the twitchy, hyper-tense anxiety that has badly corroded my psyche.I inherited my mental illness from my maternal grandmother, who died by her own hand long before I was born. I've been thinking about her a lot lately – about how her history has insinuated itself into my own. It has suggested somewhere to begin a new and very different body of work.My grandmother committed suicide in a house my mother shared with friends. One of them was a founding editor of the Sixties' most notorious, satirical counter-culture magazine, Oz. I've decided to contact him to see if he might talk to me about my grandmother. Maybe because I'm afraid of 'writing out' the many visual narratives percolating within me – maybe, too, because I'm tired of words – I'm going to take a break from writing this blog for a while. I'll post drawings and paintings instead. They'll convey a lot more coherently what is roiling inside my head.