Artwork

I am a woman artist. Feminism is a beautiful word and concept which engages me with my role of exploring my own position as a female painter today, and peeling back the layers to reveal a long line of unrecognised talented past women artists. It is a word of politics and social context, a word for my life.

Cheryl Perrett

Artist

The Only Journey

I seem to return time and time again to flight. Maybe it began to manifest with these 3 works which were done in remembrance of a much loved studio companion, Sarah, who was a real artist from head to toe and lived with every part of being in oil paint. They represent her skipping through life and final flight. She loved soaring with the birds.

On a broader level, the work is an interpretation on our life’s journey. Our fallibility to fall, and our potential to rise above ourselves and literally fly.

I have always envied that ability of our feathered friends to fly, to circle, to soar: to so easily change their perspective of the world, take it all in, and grasp it. I want to give visual comment on my world, and whilst being firmly attached to the ground I sometimes think my perspective is limited; maybe that urges me to paint women airborne- trying to understand. I love the dichotomy “are they flying or falling”, which stage are they in and if falling will they recover their wings and soar?

The Small Of IT Series

In the early Spring of 2020 I, like many, was drawn to an appreciation of the small things in Nature. These pieces are an exploration of my relationship with the world just outside my door. In some of these lockdown paintings I used as initial inspiration flowers from the garden and fields around me. I gave myself time to delve into their meanings and history of uses as remedies in medicine, which was fascinating.

They stand at a very unusual period a set of still lives come self portraits.

Dance Enquiry Series

My work has always been firmly fixed in the representational, but the combination of my other passion ‘dance’, and the opportunity to do performance work with dance artist Marie Louise Flexen led me to a more improvisational way of painting. It is free, and beautiful. It allows colour and form to play on the canvas, and it encourages intuition and abandons fixing/ choreographing paintings, so the essence of me in paint is released. After the painting performances, I needed to distill and understand how I used ‘line”; this led to further collaboration and other performances in the studio and with audiences. There is now a desire to bring the drawings off the wall/canvas into a 3 dimensional space, drawing line, movement, form, colour and sound together into multi layered sensory performance piece.

Falling Series

I seem to return time and time again to flight. On deeper reflection this series is my interpretation on life’s journey. our fallibility – to fall, and our potential to rise above ourselves and literally fly.

I have always envied that ability of our feathered friends to fly, to circle, to soar: to so easily change their perspective of the world, take it all in, and grasp it. I want to give visual comment on my world, and whilst being firmly attached to the ground I sometimes think my perspective is limited; maybe that urges me to paint women airborne- trying to understand. I love the dichotomy “are they flying or falling”, which stage are they in and if falling will they recover their wings and soar?

The story of Icarus flying too close to the sun has always fascinated me and will continue to be explored. The saying “If you don’t try you’ll never know” captures the essence of this intrepid/ fool hardy endeavour – that is the story of our lives isn’t it?

The piece Icarus’ mother kept challenging me and originated as a night vision. Clearly it isn’t now after reworking. I was intrigued by the mother’s reaction to Icarus’s plight, and have played with this theme on and off over the years. Flying female forms that aren’t angels are recurring subjects in my body of work.

Green Dress Series

The work in this series is intended to create discussion: historical and social exclusion/restriction,and stereotyping themes of girlhood are referenced. As a feminist, but specifically as a woman visual artist in a very long history of women artists, I want to reclaim our integrity through paint. The “hair drawings” in this series touched on loss. Hair is deeply bound up with identity, class and beauty and by default ‘pain’. This is an area that fascinates me, so this work is ongoing. In itself the colour ‘green’ is full of differing meanings which can be explored as well. A series of drawings and oils of ‘Firmly rooted females’, embedded in the natural world is now emerging, with work in 2019-20 growing around blurring female identity with nature, and specifically trees. What is flesh, bark, bones, branches – so much I observe I read as human form. I started work on ‘Remarkable Trees’ with intuitive pastel drawings; not getting bogged down by final outcome and finished pieces, and this provides a great freedom. This method of working is essential to producing exciting work.

Remarkable Trees Series

This current group of work explores thresholds and boundaries, and more specifically the place between, where interpretation and creativity can be given further freedom. I am drawn to the landscape and the female relationship to it in its many guises. Trees are remarkable giants of the world around us, and I use them as metaphors for human characteristics. The woman is fed, buoyed up, enlivened, and released by the interaction in these works. Can there be symbiosis? maybe. My women are sturdy, and I move away from posing them in the frame of nature: there’s more tension needed in the composition and strong grounded and connected women are needed.

Miscellaneous