Hey Robin, begin by telling us about the art you make and why you make it?
I’ll take a thought or larger idea and deconstruct its meaning by stretching and testing the boundaries. It's always interesting to see how origins diverge over time (sometimes in extreme and opposing ways) and I think this is born out of a studio mentality when working. When I work, it's across multiple media from painting and drawing to more experimental materials like aluminium and Lycra - it has been described to me in the past as a form of prototyping, like I am questing towards a more refined truth or content but to me it's a modern way of communicating in a language of visuals.
By being fluid with material choices there is no hierarchy. I think there is a certain responsibility using aspects of modernism when interpreting new ideas and the reason behind making it derives from seeing less rigorous practices that swerve that acknowledgement.
What can people expect to see from your most recent exhibition at New Art Projects in London? And can you tell us a little more about the themes of the works which are shown here.
'Open Window' broadly speaking is a feeling that something has been lost in the connection between working with our hands and how we operate technology. I see it as a two-word poem rather than a title - the thought that an open window was once a symbolic means to break free and escape the life you are living has been shattered by its basis in computer terminology as the area of the screen you are presently working on in real time. It's a jarring thought when you anticipate the human interaction with a binary system.
There is a combination of works at New Art Projects, the dominant shapes throughout the exhibition are sequences of circular dots in arrangements and formations mimicking 90 degree angular finger movement when interacting with touchscreen phones, whether it be unlocking it, playing with it or activating its functions. I've created a series of Lycra textiles based on the magnified red, green and blue pixels of various screens in technology (iPad, Samsung Galaxy, PS Vita, etc.) which were recreated from tessellating cut paper collage compositions - the Lycra jumps from shape to shape marking out wall space in the gallery.
I've also produced three paintings which support the Open Window theme. All three are marker pen drawings on aluminium panel to the same dimensions as my own phone screen at their centre and then flanked by a pair of spray painted visual parenthesis which mimic the blurred "squaring" of an image once used by apps on Instagram. "Holding Object" shows a wine glass with a napkin placed on top, a familiar method for claiming vacated space; "Napkin Variations" uses the same object but this time unfolding and refolding it to an arrangement similar to a window perhaps reflective of lost time with idle hands and "Content Provider" has the contrived scene of paperwork versus the open window of a laptop procrastinating on YouTube.
Is there a particular feeling that you want a viewer to experience during or after coming into contact with your work, or is this not of importance?
There are multiple ways of communicating ideas in this show, it's an experience to see the installation as an overall art practice. It can be bewildering and I recognise that! If a viewer can pick up the subtle nuances and accents which replicate and travel between each piece, then they will have read my intention.
I've also curated a group exhibition 'The Toast' to show the work of my contemporaries alongside Open Window. It's a rare opportunity to pay homage and respect to a generation of artists whom I look up to and have worked with throughout my career. The idea of a self-celebratory toast can have an underwritten quality of what is left out and I have collaborated with Appau Jnr. Boakye-Yiadom, Stewart Cliff, David Edwards, George Little, Eugene Macki, Simon Mathers and Sarah Poots to deliver a consideration to their respective elements.
In regard to producing art, what’s the most memorable piece of advice that has been given to you?
Rather than trying to resolve ideas or come up with solutions and concerns to interpret art it is better to produce and follow the thread of what happens next. It's a bit similar to what Max Ernst referred to when he said "before he goes into the water, a diver cannot know what he will bring back".