7 September - 13 October
Seeking the Unseen
Irene Florence – Collage, Watercolour, Embroidery & Papermaking
Irene studied Sculpture at Glasgow School of Art before going onto study Art Therapy at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.
Following her studies Irene practised as Art Psychotherapist for many years. Irene now lives and work as an artist in the village of Glendaruel.
Inspired by nature Irene uses paint, collage, embroidery and mark-making to create a body of work which is a mix of abstract and representational.
‘My interest as an artist lies in nature and organic forms. I'm inspired by the valley I live in and woods, forests and plants bordering my home.
We are surrounded and contained by the media, technology and consumerism where nature is often treated and mistreated as a raw material and a means to an end. Through trying to do the impossible, replicate objects from nature, I see the artworks as symbolising nature as a commodity and by juxtaposing manufactured forms with natural forms, the inherent qualities and beauty of natural forms always prevails.
When adding embroidery I see the holes pierced through the collages to create the stitches as damage which can symbolise immobility or energy, grip or embrace, retention or liberation.
I try to imbue art with nature and nature with art. Works often percolate over a long period of time and are in response to a combination of mood, seasons, places and life events.’
An Interview with Irene Florence
Who and/or what are your artistic influences?
Artistic influences are natural forms, playing with a variety of materials, colour combinations, paper in its many forms, textiles and recycling things that interest me. Some of the artists who inspire me are Howard Hodgkin, Jeremy Deller, Cai Guo-Qiang, Andy Goldsworthy, James Turrell, Elisabeth Blackadder, Anish Kapoor, the Boyle Family, Christo, Anni Albers.... I could go on....!
Tell me a bit about your practise and the way in which you work. Is it possible to describe a typical day in the studio?
There isn't really a typical day in the studio. Sometimes I chuck art materials about or explore mark-making to see what happens. Serendipity can lead to happy accidents – or disasters! Other times I might be working very precisely with watercolours or pencil drawings. Some artworks are started and put aside for years before something suddenly sparks and they cohere.
How does your background in Art Psychotherapy inform your work?
Using art as a third way of communicating in psychotherapy can reveal metaphors, ambiguity and projections and can help process difficulties. I think many people, and not just artists, use art consciously or unconsciously to process feelings, life events and moods.
Why do you do what you do now? What drives you to produce your work?
I derive intense enjoyment from the process of making and creating. I get pleasure from repurposing things, striving for harmony or discord and working with colour. Each year around my birthday I sign up for an art or craft course to learn new skills and to challenge myself.
What would you like an audience to take from your work?
I have absolutely no idea and no control over that! Nor would I want to. My work will either speak to people, or not, and what someone takes from it will be personal to them.