The significance of ground is a concern that runs throughout my work.


I focus on ground in its various senses: ground-based materials; grounds as sites; grounds as the sources of materials; ground as the support, a physical component of painting; and ground as in the figure-ground function, painting's fundamental problem.

The figure-ground function describes how we tend to simplify seeing things in a scene as the main object of our focus (figure) standing out from everything else behind/around it (ground). 

This understanding originates formally in the perceptual organisation theories of early twentieth-century European Gestalt psychologists. They showed that in our perception the relationship between figure and ground is ambiguous, as there are visual situations in which something initially perceived as figure can sink back to become (back)ground, and the area previously perceived as ground can come to the fore. Our experience of this type of oscillation between two elements in a picture was explored by Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin. A well-known example of figure-ground ambiguity is the 'Rubin vase/faces' illustration, created by Rubin for his research published in 1915.

The figure-ground function is fundamental to the history of painting, and artists continue to work with the endless possibilities of figure-ground relationships in a wide variety of art practices. My work considers how to bring the ground of painting (materials, support, surface, process) to the fore while also dealing with the figure (any image presented or referenced).