This series of work is entitled “JAPANESE CALLIGRAPHIC FORM”. All the designs are based on symbols from the Japanese HIRAGANA alphabet. However, the collaborative project “5 x 10” provided the motivation and development of the series.
In 2015, having long been inspired by Japanese art and calligraphy, I was experimenting with the abstraction of Japanese characters from the Hiragana alphabet. This led to the first of my exhibition works which is a multi-board panel of ten abstracted Hiragana forms using a pen and ink pointillist technique.
This was intended to be a ‘one-off’ piece, but in 2016, in collaboration with Christine Shaw, we began the ‘5 x 10’ Project. The words that I generated by the set process were: her, latest, breeding, barren and separate. One of my early, but unresolved ideas was to use the word ‘barren’. I planned to create a central design of the word using Japanese Calligraphic characters. These would be surrounded by abstracted forms which would represent the result of the devastation caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. However, this exploration led to the revival of my fascination with Japanese calligraphic form and at this point I realised that I wanted to change direction and follow my instinct to further develop my work on the calligraphic forms of the Hiragana alphabet.
Previously, in 2006, my painting and drawing techniques had been severely affected by an injury that had reduced the strength of my left arm. As I am left-handed I was unable to hold a pencil, pen or paint brush in the normal way. I developed a method of painting by holding a barbeque skewer in an upright position in my left hand, whilst supporting it with my right hand. I was then able to apply the paint in small dots rather like stippling. Thus I established a painting technique that I have been using ever since. I also used this ‘stippling’ technique for the pen and ink work that features in most of the pieces in this exhibition.
The majority of the pieces have no bearing on realistic imagery. My work aims to communicate with the viewer through the beauty and simplicity of form, flow, movement and texture.