1980s

The paintings in this section were made between 1983 and 1986, during the period when I lived in in a squat, 43, Crowndale Road, London NW1, with my sister Christine Binnie and other artists including Cerith Wyn Evans, Grayson Perry and the singer Maralyn. I shared a studio in the squat with my boyfriend of the time, Grayson Perry. He had a table in the corner of the room where he would make intricate sculptures such as the chicken footed ‘Babayagas Hut’ out of pieces of wood, stones, trinkets, anything that could be found or bought cheaply from a charity shop. I would tack large pieces of canvas on to the walls and create large, colourful oil paintings depicting characters and scenes from an imaginary land, ‘Lyonesse’ which was a combination of Grayson’s childhood fantasy, myth and my own vision of a 20th Century golden age where people and animals lived in equality and peace.

In 1894 I met James Birch who offered me a show in his Fulham Road gallery. The show was a tremendous success and nearly all of the paintings sold. By this time, the Neo-naturists,   www.neonaturists.org.uk   were in full flow and Christine, Wilma Johnson and I wore selotape dresses, glass stiletos and beehive hair dos to the opening!

Shortly after this, Grayson had his first exhibtion at James Birch fine art. He showed decorated pottery plates which he had made at an evening class with my sister. The plates were inspired by Sussex slipware, one of Christine’s favourite techniques.

For the next 2 years, Grayson and I continued to successfully exhibit our work and perform with the Neo Naturists, fully experiencing everything that the 80’s London art scene had to offer! In 1986 I left London and Grayson to live in the downland village of Jevington, East sussex.

‘Man’  oil on canvas, 1983,

85 X 200cms approx

(For many years you made performances as a member of the Neo-Naturists and I feel that this performative ritualistic spirit continues to animate your paintings, whether in the totemic poses of the figures, their patterned and decorated bodies and almost theatrical mise en scene, or the way in which the paint is applied with repetitive patternings and scratchings- through.)

Looking back thirty years later at some of my figure paintings with patterned bodies and especially those I made at the time of the Neo naturists, there are crossovers. But when I made them I didn’t really think that there was a connection between painting on a body and painting pictures of bodies, because in the paintings the patterns represent what’s going on inside the bodies in both a physical and an emotional way, with the heart and the bones and patterns suggesting bodily organs but which are expressive at the same time of emotional things. So although its superficial pattern on a surface, it represents something quite deep and emotional that is on the inside of a body and not on a surface.

‘Woman’,   1983, oil on canvas,   85 X 200cms approx

‘Dog’, 1983  oil on canvas

‘Lady and Unicorn’ 1983,

oil on canvas, 206 X 178 cms

‘Winged Dog’  1983-1985?  oil on canvas with carved frame

‘Two Dogs in Regents Park’

oil on canvas, 1984,

165 X 180 cms

‘Deer Statue’

oil on canvas, 1984,

162 X 240 cms

‘Wolf and Northern Lights’

oil on canvas, 1984,

270 X 130cms approx

‘Muscle Woman and post office Tower’

oil on canvas, 1984,

130 X 160cms

‘Queen of Lyonesse’ 

oil on canvas, 1985, 

85 X 200cms approx

‘Alex Binnie’  oil on canvas

‘Hansome Prince and Crows’

oil on canvas, 1985, 

220 X 120cms approx

‘Horse and Dolphin’ 1986

oil on canvas,

240 X 120cms