I’m a visual artist and writer currently researching a practice-led PhD.
The project addresses the retrieval and development of nineteenth century imageries in the late 1960s which apparently articulated the sought escapism and transcendence of the era. This investigates any potential rebellion against the minimalist aesthetic and modernisation of the UK (e.g. the successful protests against the demolition of Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden and the foundation of The Victorian Society in the wake of the demolition of so many Victorian buildings), as well as contrasting elements in creativity in the 1960s counter-culture, e.g. traditional folk lyric and the pseudo-medieval imagery of the nineteenth century, and its potential existential, social and political significations. The research is reflexive between visual responses in creative production and theorised concepts grounded in textual research.
My first degree was a Scottish Masters with Honours in English Literature from the University of Glasgow which I completed alongside a continued artistic practice and courses at Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow Print Studio. This helped me to establish a reflexive practice between study, research and creative output.
In 2013 I completed the first version of my biography of the Headingley born sculptor Frances Darlington (1880–1940), a female artist who produced notable public works in Yorkshire. The research also inevitably informed my creative practice, and I produced several works which formed the initial foundations for my PhD proposal. In 2014, Arts Council England funding was awarded for me to produce an installation in response to Darlington’s First World War Memorial in the old chapel at Ripon Prison and Police Museum.
My current research interests focus on:
- The interconnection of music, art, design and fashion in the late 1960s and the fluidity of creative roles during the era.
- The role that Aldous Huxley and his apprehensions about the human mind, spirituality and psychedlics had on the inherent thinking in the 1960s counter-culture.
- The enduring signification of certain Victorian imageries that constitute a complex and widespread visual language today, e.g. Alice in Wonderland, which carries not only its original signification but a compound signification associated with the 1960s revivals.
- The retrieval of William Morris & Co. patterns, Art Nouveau, Aubrey Beardsley and other Victorian artists following major exhibitions in London in the 1960s and 1970s.
- Notions of national identity and gender identities that were paradoxically encouraged and subverted by the retrieval of such types and ideals.
Other research interests include:
- Cinema and the visual narrative, especially pertaining to the surreal or transcendental.
- The Pre-Raphaelites and their association with The Oxford Movement. The New Sculpture, Arts & Crafts and Aesthetic movements.
- Victorian poets, e.g. Christina Rossetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Alfred Lord Tennyson.
- ‘The Role and Dynamics of Females Spheres of Influence in the Early Career Commissions of Frances Darlington’, Pioneering Women Conference, The Royal Society of Sculptors, March 2021
- M.A. Curatorial Practice
- M.A. Fine Art
- Scottish M.A. (Hons) English Literature