The creative motivation from Maya Hewitt.
In 2015, we had a dialogue about the relationship between you and your works. For you, "to paint" might be an exit to escape from something so that you could save yourself through continuously painting. And these make you feel like "painting" is quite private or personal. On this matter, we are curious about whether you have the interest or the intention to reflect/mirror(or from a Buddhism perception, it means "observing" and "understanding") others through your art?
I think of painting and my studio as a very private and personal place to exist, to allow ideas, past memories or future plans and dreams to evolve in that empty space. It lets me reconsider the relationship between illusion and reality. I certainly don't paint in the same frenetic manner which i did ten years ago. In fact a huge amount of time in the studio is spent in an uncertain state, often without any paintbrush in hand.
I like observing social interactions from afar, they can be full of clumsy awkward slip-ups, so exploring body language, gestures, interactions and relationships within my painting is fascinating to me. I want the figures to be heartfelt and empathetic but also theatrical as if caught in a dramatic tragedy, the paintings often appear almost ceremonial. I love films that peer into a character's soul or have representations of the characters' internal states, transcending space and time. I want that in my work, to tell open-ended stories where internal conflicts unfurl and reveal themselves.
Your Love, Forever (2016) / 47.6 x 59.1 inches / Oil on board
I'm influenced by the huge amount of images I collect as material to help inform and structure my paintings. These come from a wide and varied range of sources such as books, found photos, textiles etc but also it could be from some obscure youtube video screenshot or often i get lost in someone's data dump of their life photos on image hosting sites or photos from barely visited blogs found after following a trail of images down a rabbit hole on search engine sites. Online photo album storage spaces can be fascinating, Im not interested in taking from social media type platforms where people are self-consciously carving our their profile in polished images, I'm into the quieter people or the quieter sides of people's lives, the photos that should've been deleted because of their uneventfulness. To me the people remain anonymous in the scenes, they exist in a lonely and dreamlike space with a sense of detachment and placelessness. The present moment is all suggestion, it gives me distance but i can see myself in them, like when you feel a close affiliation with a character in a film, its like living vicariously through their existence. I use elements of these images to help me tap into these lives and situations and scenarios as moments connected to a bigger world, caught up with my own surroundings and agenda. I enjoy the awkward form it can generate.
For me the imagery I create or am attracted to all carry a ghostly imprint or echo of the absent, a longing for something that will never return.
Tunnel Eyes (2011) / 120x150cm / Oil on board
There are many exotic elements that share a harmony in your works, and it probably has something to do with your penetrative observation. How do you observe human beings/objects/events? And how will you select(or remove, just like two sides of interpretation based on one result) and collage these observations from your own memory?
I like it when the painting gets to a point where it is caught in its own structure and exists in its own place. The ideas which are intricately webbed to memories of events and places can then evolve through the synapses of connections happening as the making process progresses - things layered together distill or struggle against each other. In that state instinct takes over. Like allowing for mind wanderings, mistakes or serendipity to carve the direction of how the painting grows and how to find a voice within it which in turn guides decisions. It can become fragmented and non linear, some depictions are more internal and personal but overall it is painting about existence.
Untitled (2016) / 8.2 x 11.6 inches / Oil on board
I’m wanting to translate something personal, like confiding in another, or being a listener. Its all linked to the function of memory, an act of recognition, shaped by your surroundings and headspace at the time. I love being taken into a whole other world beyond this one through music, its what I dream about creating in my own work, my own reality that way. Where depictions are emotional reflections and suggestive atmospheres colour everything, rather than any literal translations.
The source of images both from real life and my mind can act as an illusions to hide behind, to falsify an idea of the past and the exotic, or encapsulate an opening and existence can come to feel amorphous.
Untitled (2016) / 16.5 x 11.6 inches / Oil on paper
Often a silhouetted figure puppeteers the scene, precariously embodying the balance between exposure and intimacy. I'm interested in the power of simple objects to convey meaning, or to let certain things shine through like capturing a feeling of fragility. The objects themselves are collaged much in the same way music producers sample segments of sound from other records. The original gradually gets mutated and distorted beyond recognition, allowing for it to metamorphose into something else and become part of a bigger whole.
Your Face (2016) / 33.1 x 23.4 inches / Oil on board
In your larger-sized oil on canvas, we can see that you tried to manage several parallel storylines at the same time; on the other hand, you are also focusing on smaller-sized oil on paper recently. How you make arrangement on these two types is totally different. What do you think about the relationship between them? And where your attention will be in the future?
The drawings are more like cells of a comic book where as the paintings are more like a chapter in a book.
The drawings are like a series of introductions. they exists in their own space whereas the paintings are in a sense unsettled, where shifting narratives evolve, and disparate spaces are caught within one space, much like in dreams. I’ m interested in the dynamic of the paintings being in dialogue with one another. I want them to shift or play with your expectations of what the work is about.