My art practice is project-based with focused long-term explorations of materials and laborious processes.
My current work delves into the science of distilling pigment from the natural world that was practiced widely by artists before the advent of synthetic, mass-produced pigments. I collect common plants in local woods, clearings and roadsides and produce brilliant watercolour pigments that defy the traditional colour theory as they interact with each other as I paint with them. The various pigments (anthocyanins, betalains, metal-anthocyanins) change their colour unexpectedly once they mix directly on the paper due to their biochemical properties. Anthocyanin pigments, for example, change colour depending on the pH value of the environment they are exposed to; they can turn into pink, red, blue, purple, black. I use highly absorbent hand made Japanese kozo paper.
My interest in naturally made watercolour pigments is not motivated by historicization or nostalgia. I aim to develop an embodied knowledge and empirical understanding of materials. As I explore the colour making process, I contemplate larger questions around the more than human world: questions of sustainability, materiality, and what it means to be an artist today.
My recent exhibition at Satellite Project Space from Aug 18-28 related public program more specifically explored the agency of materials. Where do colours come from and how do they interact?
The exhibition and related program was supported by the London Arts Council through the City of London’s Community Arts Investment Program.
I make plant-based watercolour to explore the agency of materials. The fully absorbent Washi paper allows the plant-based colours to enter into chemical reactions with each other based on their pH value and produce a myriad of colours. ‘Fire’ was made with hibiscus, red currant, peppermint, and turmeric.