The classical approach to art has for centuries embodied the search for both beauty and truth. As Keats said: ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’. The sense of mystery that is revealed through this beauty in everyday life fascinates me and it is my engagement with this mystery, set in the context of my Christian faith, which underpins much of my work. As Simone Weil says, ‘Beauty gives us such a vivid sense of the presence of something good, that we look for some purpose there. Along with affliction, beauty compels us to ask, Why?’
From the classical figures of the Renaissance to the everyday studies of men and women working in the field, the human form has long been used as a means of conveying a sense of beauty and hope. Fundamental to this expression over time has been the capturing of a person’s presence.
The human presence in us all is profound and ultimately mysterious, and something I find fascinating both to observe in every day life and to seek to capture in my work.
I love looking up close at drawings by Raphael, Michelangelo and Degas in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The tenderness of their construction is staggering. It raises the question of the nature of the spirit of these artists which enabled them to produce such sensitive, masterful work. It also acts as a reminder to me, not just of our being spiritual beings but also how much that spirituality has a face.