Elephant & Sparrow
Gigi Sudbury - 2005.
Oil on paper
Dimensions: 12x14 (28x30cm framed)
I paint the magic of the everyday, the world I know best. I am not interested in commentary or shock. I want to dig into the place left when the id leaves the room. Painting the everyday is not just about what I see, it's what I dream about, give attention to, hear across a room of children playing.
I paint in the kitchen, in the car, in the loft, in the grass – I am not the painter in the studio in self-imposed isolation, door firmly shut. I work with paints of acrylic and oil, crayons, graphite, media that don't mix, felt tip pen, paper, tissue paper and card on the ground in heaps and disarray, a mess that makes sense to me. I do not clear up after a session because I will use the thread of what's left over on my return. I use collage for experimentation and I paint in oil to hone the experiment – it is the grandest pleasure, oil paint takes abuse. I make collage by cutting up my own (failed) pictures, sketches or scraps, old letters typed or hand written. I like the scrawl of handwriting that comes from the body – as we use it less it seems more intimate and expressive.
I would never make a picture that was designed at the start – if I knew how it would look at the beginning I would be removing the point of painting it and I may as well speak it with words.
I paint stillness because in that space, a moment held, new things start to drop in and clarify. Stillness is when time no longer belongs to GMT. For Elephant and Sparrow I used oil paint over collage, using the chance shapes of the uneven surface to design the landscape and scratch into to find what's beneath. The animals travel through a broad valley beneath the mountains, I wanted to show the breath of air that has brought them here – their interdependence and knowledge of each other. This sharing could be a mother and child, a chance encounter, or you and me. It is the journey we all take.
I want to paint our digital future because paint sits uncomfortably beside a computer screen and AI and digital control. I paint optimistically while making a shout for painting to hold it's ground and speak about the intricacies of human emotions and the unexpected. I'd be mad to reject our digital future and mad not to have concerns. I'd like to paint AI as lovingly as Chagall painted his wife. I want to stand still and paint when I leave the room.
About Gigi Sudbury
Gigi Sudbury is a versatile and highly-collected artist whose work has been exhibited at England & Co., The Southbank Centre, Royal Overseas League and Leighton House Museum.
Sudbury grew up in Gloucestershire and moved to Paris in her early twenties to learn to paint. Her work is heavily inspired by her studies in Paris, and subsequent time spent in Italy. Prolonged study of early Renaissance artwork and the work of Piero della Francesca imbue Sudbury’s work. Of particular interest to the present day is the act of distilling everyday life into a single moment inspired by this work. Sudbury now lives in Dorset and her work focuses on animals, folklore and the family she surrounds herself with.
Gigi Sudbury was the winner of the Alternative Turner Prize, 2002.