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The title of this exhibition - Outside the Line - is in part a response to a time when the young child is told not to colour outside the line. It is a common remark that can squash the child’s natural curiosity and stop the imagination from finding its own lines and shapes, both in terms of art and life. AND a response to the child that ignores that direction and does so anyway!

Outside the Line is an introspective body of work that embarks on an ontological journey, delving into the essence of abstract concepts and their profound connections to childhood memories and experiences. Through vibrant and evocative abstract expressions, this collection invites viewers to explore the blurred boundaries between reality and imagination.

Drawing inspiration from my own recollections of a carefree childhood, the paintings encapsulate the essence of innocent wonder, nostalgia, and joy. Each stroke of colour and texture becomes a visual ode to the emotions and impressions imprinted upon my mind as a child.

As I navigate the abstract realm, I endeavour to unravel the nature of being and existence through the lens of introspection and childhood memory.These paintings become portals to the deeper layers of the child's mind allowing one to ponder the very fabric of reality and our place within it. Outside the Line serves as a reminder that our childhood memories, with their unbridled creativity and imagination, continue to shape our understanding of the world and leave lasting imprints on our life journey.



The idea behind the dresses was to incorporate a sculptural element into the exhibition, while paying homage to a passion for fabric throughout my past and present. Over the years, I've practiced various fabric-related endeavors, including textile art, dressmaking, bag design, quilting, just to name a few. Working with fabric has played a major role  as a constant artistic expression throughout my creative journey and it is still a medium that I love to work with on a regular basis.

Each dress was chosen from one of the paintings showcased in the exhibit. I photographed them and had them digitally printed  onto fabric , and from there I designed and made  each one. During the construction process,  each dress developed its own identity and I could see a clear theme appear. It was that of the beloved children's fairy-story adventure, created by Lewis Carroll, "Alice in Wonderland" and "Alice Through the Looking Glass." These stories were read to me by my Mother on many occasions as a child and they remain to this day as one of my favourite children’s stories. I discovered that much like the whimsical and surreal adventures Alice encounters in her journey down the rabbit hole, childhood memories often exist in a realm where reality blurs with imagination.  By merging these themes, I found  a deeper connection between the fantastical nature of "Alice in Wonderland" and the abstract, dreamlike quality of childhood memories explored in 'Outside the Line'.

Each dress represents  a character in these stories. The  light blue dress represents 'Alice in Wonderland' , the pink dress portrays the 'Red Queen' and the dark blue dress is the 'Queen of Hearts'.



The colour pallet stands as the decisive force that unites these paintings, from a visual point of view, into a cohesive whole.  Each canvas has a vivid spectrum of hues, carefully chosen to evoke the emotions, moods, and sensations that reverberate with my childhood recollections.  

Although the paintings themselves are entirely abstract, the  titles are literal. This serves as an insight into the childhood memory and story that lies behind each painting. For instance, 'Eating Watermelon on the Beach.' This painting intends to capture the essence of the experience of sitting on the sandy shore, indulging in sweet, thirst-quenching watermelon that drips down your hands. In the background, a rich, deep blue sky stretches out, while the inviting, even deeper-hued waters beacons you in to wash off. And, of course, the perpetually opportunistic  seagulls dance around you, in the hope that you might throw  some leftovers. This painting represents the  feelings of joy and wonder that I experienced many times as a child, especially at the beach.

'Blue Velvet' is another example. Blue velvet holds a special place in my heart, as it represents a type of fabric that I had a deep fascination with during my childhood. In our home, we had a couple of chairs upholstered in this luxurious material, which always intrigued me and even more captivating was my mother's beautiful 1960s-designed blue velvet coat that I was frequently caught wearing around the house, enchanted by the softness and elegance of the fabric.



The opening event of 'Outside The Line' provided  the opportunity to speak about the body of work, both in terms of the collection of paintings and the sculptural element in the 'art to wear'. Brought to life by three young women, Sophie Coombes, Olivia Moon and Melis Layik, each dress represented a character from 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Alice through the Looking Glass'. Sophie represented Alice in Wonderland, Olivia portrayed The Red Queen and The Queen of Hearts was brought to life by Melis. These dresses provides a another dimension to the very essence of this body of work. Living, moving art  transcends the two-dimensional confines of the canvas, embodying the idea that art isn't just something to be admired from afar.  

The intention is to bridge the gap between the abstract and the tangible by  allowing us to step into the world of these beloved characters, and  become part of their whimsical stories, and to bring to life the nostalgic echoes of our own childhood imaginations. 

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