An interview with our artist Phyllis Dunseth

Our artist Phyllis Dunseth talks about her work.

What project are you working on now?
I am doing as much work as I can for the July Cambridge Open Studios. However, because of a broken knee bone, I have only been able to work sitting down and on a small scale. This has meant working in collage. This happened in March so things have been slow with no opportunity to get fresh materials or frames as one normally does in the run-up to the event. It has taught me about collage and what I can use to achieve differing effects.

Where do you find your ideas?
My ideas arise often from my Christian convictions and themes such as injustice. Other times they come from the old masters and I rework iconic compositions but twisting the traditional layout to raise questions. At other times the medium suggests something as I work, like the collages just mentioned.

How do you feel when you are letting your emotions loose on the canvas?
Since working on my M.A. I have realized how content can be communicated gesturally. When working on these compositions, I feel completely engaged like someone playing tennis, but working with intellect and intuition at the same time. It’s honest and thrilling.

Is there an artwork you are most proud of and why?
I have a composition which is entitled “Millais and the Ark” which uses the metaphor of blindness as in Millais’ “Blind Girl” to extend to spiritual blindness Specialisms and factual knowledge to the left lead to limited understanding while the right side of the composition shows other possibilities.
The work brings together theology and some hitherto untried glazing techniques. In it are several techniques that I never tried before and I was fortunate that it all came together.

How do you know when a work is finished?
It appears resolved and complete even if there are areas of unpainted canvas.

What is the most important artist tool you couldn’t do without?
I have a small tabletop sandblaster that I use when working with flashed glass.

My website is www.phyllisdunseth.co.uk which shows the range of my work as well as some commissions.

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