Mike Winnard

Complexity underlies all things. My work attempts to express the subtleties, mysteries, beauty and tragedy of human experience.

I look to create complex visual works by drawing on ideas, themes and imagery from history, myth, fiction, religion, nature, philosophy, science and contemporary culture.

In pulling together seemingly disparate images and concepts, the intention is to allude to the underlying similarities of human experience; that although we are as diverse as the stones on a shore, we share common bonds through our nature, our subjectiveness, and the places and times in which we find ourselves.

This is not an attempt to obscure differences, but rather to face them head on; to reflect a world where nothing is black and white, no opinion definitive and no school of thought above all others. By acknowledging this, the hope is to avoid presenting any singular attitude as authoritative, instead creating artworks which can be encountered by people of many backgrounds, each reading the work through the language of their own experience, and within the work finding glimmers of their own perspective.

To accomplish this visually, I look to blend realism and abstraction, symbolism and suggestion, precise clarity and gestural immediacy to suggest the multiplicity of perspectives that surround any issue. Competing images and symbols are rendered in different styles, fused together and distilled down to synthesise a whole. A childhood spent illegally painting trains and buildings, coupled with a later fine art education and a career in the applied arts, has left my work as an amalgamation of visual styles and artistic intentions. My recent practice has focussed on large-scale drawings and murals, utilising charcoal, spray paint, acrylic, emulsion, ink and gold foil.

The initial stage of any work is driven by a vital period of research, photography and reflection, aimed at gaining a more nuanced, sensitive understanding of the given subject, before formulating a visual response. With a background straddling fine art and design, I intuitively seek communication and exchange when conceiving artworks, whilst embracing the ability of fine art to reflect complex topics in a non-linear way.

Context, I feel, is vital to the reception of an artwork, and in any project I endeavour to supplement visual outcomes with supporting information, presented in an ambiguous and playful way. This is done to offer an open-ended insight into the work’s ambitions, inspirations and process, rather than trying to enforce a singular reading.

Website: www.mikewinnard.co.uk

Mike has also started an amazing blog which documents his research as part of the commission: www.commongroundleeds.co.uk