I make narrative paintings in which fact and fiction coexist. I think of each work as a platform where memory and media collapse into one another. The figures I paint come from observation — friends and family — or are lifted from cultural icons I admire. In one, an artist friend reclines in a Kubrickian interior; in another, the 70’s musician Captain Beefheart rifles through vinyl with his feet. I’m interested in how my images can reference history, while also speaking to a contemporary moment. In this way, I want my paintings to convey a narrative tension, allude to allegories, and present concerns at once formal, social, and existential.
I don’t often start a painting with a single idea. Instead, i’ll begin with an image, or a position, a figure and a setting. As I’m working, different ideas and pictures will work their way into the painting, to a point where several stories happen at once between the back and foregrounds. Smart and Final evolved in this way: the painting (image #2) started with a woman in a yoga ‘boat’ pose, limbs stretched atop a rug made from the skin of a polar bear while three men with seemingly disparate purposes carry on behind her (they are, from left to right, a seated and despondent Uncle Sam, a leering beatnik, and an Alpha male cop in a tiny car.) These men, three caricatures of a male ego, form a sort of sociological survey tucked behind an elegant figure study in yoga, while the inanimate yet denouncing polar bear stares forward.
In many of my paintings there are large areas of block color and pattern, precisely defined sensory fields which I employ in thematic ways. I think about the memories color can trigger– the palette prescribed to an architect in a city bylaw, a public school, or dance hall–and in this regard, look to artists such as Joan Brown, David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj for influence.
I strive to create formal scenarios in which the personal and political are interlaced. For example, in You’re a Step Crocogator (Image #3) a British racecar driver stands looking at his reflection in a full-length mirror. He (along with his likeness gazing back) sports a Pink Floyd “The Wall” jumpsuit; a (personal) hero sporting an album dear to my own cultural history. However, the middle-aged man and his ‘wall’ signifier, interpreted without context and here in the US, takes on more troubling connotations: perhaps an allegory for America in the Trump Age? Trapped in (his) own self-absorption and perilous mid-life crisis? I like the way the image operates in these two dichotomous ways.
Born: Glasgow Scotland 1985
MFA Painting, Tyler School of Art, Temple University 2011.
BA(Hons) First Class (Painting), Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design,
University of Dundee 2008.
Foundation Year, Leith School of Art, Edinburgh 2004.
Grants and Awards
Artist Grant, The Vermont Studio Centre, 2014.
The Stevenston Award for Painting, The Royal Scottish Academy, 2009.
Dundee Visual Artist Award, City of Dundee, 2008.
The Sandra McNeilance Award for Drawing and Painting, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, 2008.
Artist travel Grant, The Cross Trust, 2007.
Feed The Meter Vol.2, group exhibition curated by Wallace Whitney, Ceysson & Bénétière Wandhaff, Luxembourg.
15th Show, two-person exhibition with Max Heiges, Eddys Room, Brooklyn NY.
NADA New York, group exhibition, CANADA, NY
CANADA Friends & Family Garudge Sale, group exhibition, CANADA, NY.
Aim To Please, group exhibition curated by Alex Maciver, Another. Project Space, Perth, Australia.
Driveway Dance-off, two-person exhibition with Emily Davidson, CANADA, NY.
Stone Soup Nasty, group exhibition, Orgy Park, Brooklyn NY.
How-High, group exhibition, Left Field Gallery, LA.
New Paintings, (Project Space) Lyles & King, New York.
Frieze Art Fair, group exhibition, CANADA, London.
Brendan Cass Auction, group exhibition, CANADA, New York.
Drawings and Prints, NADA, Miami Beach, CANADA.
Anthropocene, group exhibition, CANADA, New York.
Typhoon Haiyan Benefit Art Show, The Lodge Gallery, New York.
Half-Life, group show, 241 Suydam Street, Brooklyn NY.
Pot Luck, group show, 187 Jefferson Street Gallery, Brooklyn NY.
On Country Time, Poolhaus, Connecticut. Curated by Ted Gahl.
Dance Studio, group show, Schein Projects, Brooklyn.
Mirror Mirror, group show, Airplane Gallery, Brooklyn.
A Sudden Wave of Material Culture, Taiss Gallery Paris with Joanna Malinowska.
RSVP 2011, group show, New Wilmington Art Association, Delaware.
Nothing Outshines The Future, thesis show, Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia.
Woot! group show, Icebox, The Crane Arts Center, Philadelphia.
Sample 3, group show, Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.
Chromatose, group show, Nudashank Gallery, Baltimore. Curated by Eric Parker.
Suddenspace, group show, 2301 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA.
RSA New Contemporaries, group show, The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
Leith School of Art 20th Year Anniversary, The Leith School of Art, Edinburgh.
Press and Print
New American Paintings #128 (2017).
Painting is Dead. Featured Artist (2015).
Gorky’s Granddaughter, Interview, 2014.
Painter’s Table, Interview.
When Art Looks Back, Hyper Allergic Magazine August 2014.
Hunted Projects. Interview with Steven Cox, Director (2013).
New American Paintings, #87 (2011).
Studio Visit Magazine, The Open Studios Press (2013).
13 Ways of Looking at Painting, by Julia Morrisroe.
ABC Book, Showcase of Contemporary Art and illustration Macmillan Publishers and The London College of Communications, May 2011.
The Artblog, Weekly News, Jan 2012.
The Shock of The New, Rachael Divine, The Sunday Times, February 2009.
Royal Scottish Academy, The New Contemporaries, Georgina Coburn, AN Magazine 2009.
Guest Artist Lectures
New York Studio School, NY (2016).
Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, NJ (2016).
Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia PA (2016).
As co-founder and co-director of Bannerette, an artist-run space in Brooklyn, my partner and I have programmed exhibitions since 2014 as well as curating shows in other venues and at Spring Break Art Show, NY.