and Savages’ is a body of work exploring issues
of group dynamics and social isolation. The utopian landscapes
are the setting for clusters of people and solitary figures
whose subtle gestures hint at a darker mood than the bright
colours might suggest.
I am particularly fascinated by the subtle nuances of
body language – the tilted heads, twisted bodies
and small involuntary signals signifying elements of power,
control, vulnerability and alienation. From the kindest
of gestures to sinister acts of Machiavellian treachery
I am interested in the tiny tales of growing und crumbling
relationships. Groupings of individuals and lone characters
suggest leaders and factions mimicking the hierarchy of
the workplace, different social strata or power struggles
in the boardroom.
The cast have
human like bodies topped with heads of animals and birds.
Using anthropomorphic beings brings an element of theatre
to the paintings whilst at the same time depersonalising
The fantastical landscapes are inspired by formal public
gardens such as the Italian Giardini di Boboli, the Botanical
Gardens in Visby,Sweden and closer to home the Arboretum,
Nottingham. These landscapes create the perfect environment
for games and human interaction.
The sketchbook is usually the starting point, often beginning
with drawings such as direct observation in one of the
parks. I have spent many years drawing people and places
and much of the recent sketchbook work is about developing
the characters and creating my own visual language. I
never work directly from a sketchbook, preferring to rely
on memory or a direct source for inspiration.
Narrative resource material is wide and varied –
from Margaret Atwood’s novel, ‘Cat’s
Eyes’, works by Jane Austen and TV dramas. Personal
memories and historical events also provide rich pickings
for little scenarios that pepper the work.
Whilst I have particular narratives in mind when creating
the work, the stories are also deliberately ambiguous
allowing the viewer to interpret the work for themselves.
Jackie Berridge April 2014