In this series of work Olivia Longstaff looks to explore the physicality of painting and the effect of subconscious creation.
‘I have always believed that each ‘thing’ I put to canvas has its own way of communicating and my process is finding out what that is – how the material wants to exist within the painting. However, I have found that often we can’t see what a material is trying to say as we have our own idea of what we want it to say.
If gesture is an extension of being, surely that can only be true if they are created subconsciously?
Too often we are coerced by social pressures and our own insecurities. If you take away the constraints of the rational world, and in turn the rules of society, does this not give a more authentic result.
Is this not what we crave as a society – authenticity?
Painting this series in the environment that I did, in the middle of Dartmoor, helped achieve this result. Isolating myself allows me to think beyond previous boundaries and restrictions, to work from a different perspective. The inability to travel only serves to further this as it takes away the pressure to be anywhere – it gives me an excuse to be outright selfish and removes the shame in being this way.
Allowing myself to be at the mercy of the materials and taking away the pressure to know comes next, is what helped carry this project forward. I found that becoming lost in the painting was the ultimate goal. It is a lot more interesting to work from an uncomfortable position, then always knowing my next move.
As the saying goes, ‘comfort is the enemy of progress’
I do not look to present an edited display of materiality, I want concentration to be placed on each gesture and its impulse.