Amy Russell

The Last Cartwheel, 2021.
 

The idea of painting has never been separate from the idea of text for me- my early inspirations were graphic- Smash Hits magazines and Dada, punk and pop-art-: images and words functioning together, ideas that are communicated quickly. My early work consistently worked with image and text- often I had would create a title first and the pictorial element would be almost an illustration of that.
 
The Last Cartwheel uses text and image and is an ongoing daily task based painting project, essentially, making a painting as another task on a daily to-do list. It came about from feeling the pressure to make work alongside all my other domestic and work-related tasks and feeling if I could even put a daub of paint on a piece of paper, I could call myself a painter and get on with my day; doing all the other stuff that isnt painting but might allow painting to happen again eventually.
 
The works are made with whatever is to hand and has connections to a series of works I made after I had children; 1989. My practice had changed from making big paintings in a studio with plenty of time to making A4 work on a desk after the children had gone to bed. As a result, the pieces were collages - using a mixture of painted pieces, current magazines and newspapers and old memorabilia that was hanging around.
This relates in some ways to the constraints inherent in a domestic life with a family; the schedules, the lists - a framework that you cannot deviate from either through necessity or choice.
This concern with documenting the maternal in this way is not as clearly present when the practice is separate from the maintenance experience – for example, 1989 was very clearly about my lack of time and as such offers a different perspective on the idea of mother artist - yes, my work is about motherhood, but my lack of time is only a result of that.

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