'How can you make something that is flat against the wall take up space?' -Caragh Thuring

Focusing on architectural elements or landmarks, Caragh Thuring's paintings begin with extensive visual research - research which leads straight to paintings directly on to unprimed linen canvas. In this film she discusses where her inspiration comes from, how she knows when a painting is finished, and the 'act of generosity' it takes for a viewer to spend time with a painting.

I went to New York about two years ago and the Arthur Kennedy came from that, it was actually just the view outside my window. I wanted to just work and not think about anything else, so everything that I had collated and looked at and, you know, I experienced, I suppose, and then put that together with what I was thinking about.

But how can you make something that is flat against the wall take up space, in a way, and get somebody involved in that?

When I first started painting again I thought a lot about sculpture and about buildings and spaces. I do quite a bit of research in advance. When I feel that I’ve, sort of, reached a point where I can’t do any more research I just start painting. The actual time painting is relatively small. I have an idea, a vague idea or maybe even a clear idea but the painting is never, it’s resolved within the process of actually doing it. And you never know what the result’s going to be so that’s the, sort of, the pleasure of making it.

For this particular, sort of, series of paintings I’ve been looking at some photographs that I took in Holland and I noticed that the window displays have these very, sort of, twee pairings of vases or statues or plants. And there is that, sort of, history in Dutch painting of this window display, they never have curtains and everything is just open for people to look at and they seem quite proud of it. So I wanted to make this series of paintings from these photographs. And, you can’t really tell whether you’re inside or outside or where the line is of, the sort of, the territory line, I suppose, the borderline. Again, they become like these unreadable vignettes where you’re just plucking elements of it.

There’s no primer on the canvas but I always hated that, when you had to, sort of, get rid of the surface. So I chose to work on linen because it was like having a piece of paper, you just, sort of, start and start the drawing and I ignore it but it seems to unify the work for some people.

I was trying to interrupt those ways of reading something visual that we recognise, trying to, sort of, break down that visual recognition in a way so that you’re interrupted and you have to get involved.

Yeah, you know when they’re finished. You just get to the point where you can’t do any more and the painting tells you it’s finished or unfinished.

They require some imagination or people, you know, willing to use their imagination, and that’s always quite risky I think. People are scared of what they don’t know or what they think they should understand. Who wants to look at this static image that’s not necessarily giving you what you want immediately? It requires a lot of generosity, I think, from the point, part of the viewer.