Johanne Ferguson


Elements of the “intuitive” personal and the “trained graphic” are in constant flux in my work—they appear in different ways and proportions in each painting, communicating different aspects of the process. I like to do variations on an idea either by using the same image in different ways or by taking the idea or image through a series of transformations. This working method reflects my interests in psychology and philosophy. Where an image may evolve from intuitive collage it will also contain aspects of rigourous design experience - inherent scale, form, colour and so on. There is a tension to this relationship of intuition and order in each work.

Painting is, for me, a tool to express ideas or emotions. Rather than deliberately choosing images, they emerge as reflections of my interests and preoccupations at the time. My images evolve from a number of sources such as poetry, music, or from some visual or emotional impression. As I consider the idea a concept emerges. Often the title will come before the image itself. I begin to see the image in my “mind"s eye” I then begin to assemble the elements of what I think of as an “interior still life”.

I consider such things as colour, size, medium etc. While the painting begins as a whole derived mostly by intution, the final image is controlled by the moment-to-moment decisions that I make during the actual painting process. I work with a heavy textured hand-made paper which has a rough surface and interesting edges. It lends a physical presence to the images and works themselves. For example, I am currently using a 300lb paper for its weighty, tactile quality. For similar reasons, I prefer acrylic for the flexibility it offers and because its thickness can be varied to get the effect I want. It also dries relatively quickly, and I am able to add layers of, and layer, the paint easily, using gesso to add dimension and relief for additional texture.